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Baked Artichokes with Tuna and Sourdough Bread Crumbs

Confronting a whole artichoke might feel like laying siege to a fortress, but it’s worth the effort, since this forbidding vegetable is not only delicious but also rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Here, artichokes are filled with a savory mixture of oil-packed tuna and garlicky sourdough crumbs.

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices artisan-style sourdough bread, each about 3 by 4 inches and 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 cans (each 6 oz.) oil-packed tuna
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 6 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large artichokes

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 300°F.

Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and bake them, turning once, until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes total. Rub one side of each slice of warm toast with the garlic clove. Let cool, then tear the toasts into chunks. Put them in a food processor, in 2 batches if necessary, and process into coarse crumbs.

Drain the tuna, reserving 2 Tbs. of the oil. Reserve 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs. In a bowl, combine the remaining crumbs, the tuna, the reserved tuna oil, the cheese, 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice, the dill, the 1/4 tsp. salt and the pepper.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and add the remaining 4 Tbs. lemon juice. Cut about 1 inch off the top of each artichoke, then snip off any remaining thorny tips with kitchen shears. Break off the tough outer leaves and use a vegetable peeler to peel the stems. Trim off the stem ends. Put the artichokes in the pot and cook until the bases are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Remove the artichokes with tongs and set aside, upside down, to drain and cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.

When the artichokes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the prickly choke from the center of each one. Cut off the stems, chop and stir into the tuna mixture. Spread the leaves of each artichoke slightly, like a flower, and place upright in a baking dish. Spoon the tuna mixture evenly into the artichoke centers and top evenly with the reserved 1/4 cup bread crumbs. Bake until the bread crumbs are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot or warm. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).