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Stuffed Roasted Artichokes with Chili and Mint

The earthy, nutty flavor of artichokes, as well as their unique shape, with many natural pockets to fill, makes them great vehicles for bold seasonings like the garlic and two types of chili in this stuffing. The refreshing quality of mint counteracts the spice from the jalapeño and the richness of the oil-coated bread crumbs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon
  • 4 globe artichokes
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 jalapeño chili, seeded and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh mint, cut into thin ribbons
  • Generous pinch of freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Halve the lemon, squeeze the juice into the boiling water and carefully drop in the lemon halves.

Using a sharp knife, cut off the top fourth of each artichoke, then trim the stem flush with the bottom. Using kitchen shears, cut the sharp tips off the leaves. Lower the artichokes into the boiling water and cook, turning occasionally, until the bottoms are almost tender when pierced with a knife and the leaves come off when pulled firmly, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the artichokes upside down on a rack set over a baking sheet.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the 1 Tbs. oil. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the chili, garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the bread crumbs and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add the egg and beat well with a fork until the mixture is well moistened. Add the mint to the mixture along with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and stir to blend.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

When cool enough to handle, gently open the artichoke leaves away from the center and remove the tough chokes and small yellow leaves using a sturdy spoon. Fill the cavity of each artichoke and the spaces between some of the leaves with the crumb mixture. Arrange the artichokes snugly in a baking dish and drizzle the tops with oil. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the leaves pull out easily, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the top of the filling is lightly browned, about 10 minutes more.

Transfer the artichokes to warmed plates and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).