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Baked Artichokes With Crab And Sourdough Stuffing

Artichokes, an Old World food, came to America with Italian immigrants and found a happy home in the near-Mediterranean climate of California. As "ethnic" fare, artichokes took their time catching on outside the Golden State. They finally did in the thirties and became something of a fad. Artichokes were not limited to the vegetable course, either. Sometimes the center "choke" was scooped out and the hollow filled with a stuffing for a fashionable light lunch entree.

Courses: Main Course
Serves: 4 people

Recipe Ingredients

6 tablespoons 90mlButter - (3/4 stick)
1 cup 146g / 5.1ozFinely-chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup 46g / 1.6ozFinely-chopped onion
2   Celery stalks - finely chopped
8   Garlic cloves - minced
3 cups 438g / 15ozFresh breadcrumbs - made from crustless sourdough bread
8 oz 227gCrabmeat
  Salt - to taste
  Freshly-ground black pepper - to taste
4   Artichokes - (abt 1 lb ea) (large)

Recipe Instructions

Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, celery and garlic. Saute until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and cool completely. Mix in breadcrumbs and crabmeat. Season stuffing with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut off top third of each artichoke; discard. Cut off stem. Pull out yellow and small purple-tipped leaves from center. Using melon baller, scoop out fibrous choke.

Gently pull leaves outward from center until leaves open slightly. Pack stuffing into each artichoke cavity and between first and second center layers of leaves, mounding slightly. Place artichokes in 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish. Add enough water to come 3/4 inch up sides of dish. Cover with foil. Bake artichokes until outer leaf pulls away easily, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

"Bon Appetit, September 1999"


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