Posts Tagged ‘artichoke’

Stuffed Artichoke

Stuffed Artichoke

This was the FIRST recipe I ever learned. I must have been about twelve. My parents and I went over to Maui every year growing up, (ahhh – the perks of being an airline kid). It was a tradition that during our first night in town, we would take our jet-lagged bellies over to Jameson’s at the Kapalua Resort.

No matter how tired we were, or how late our flight had arrived, we could always depend on satisfying our hunger at  Jameson’s with JJ’s famous artichoke. Since that time, the Kapalua was taken over by Ritz Carlton and Jameson’s was replaced with a new restaurant. I miss the old school Jameson’s very much. But I remind myself that I will always have the artichoke. And nobody can take that away from me. Artichoke

So here’s my artichoke story. JJ was a longtime employee at this restaurant, and rumor is he developed this masterpiece after a long day’s work, few ingredients to choose from, and severe hunger pains. In my version, he’s had a few Mai Tai’s as well, which boosted his creativity.

I would rave to the waitstaff about how much I loved the artichoke. One lucky night, they offered to take me back into the kitchen, to meet JJ, and watch him make an actual stuffed artichoke!! A childhood dream fulfilled. I sat in the kitchen, bewildered and amazed, as I watched him work his magic on our order. Then I was shuffled back to the table, where I anxiously awaited our artichoke. He even delivered it to us himself.

Alyssa and JJ

Last December, my husband and I went back to Maui with my dad. There we were, at one of the new restaurants on the Kapalua property, when JJ himself came over to our table. I was ecstatic. I even got a picture with him. I tried to explain the effect his artichoke had on us. I hope he got it and didn’t think I was totally nuts.

I’m not promising healthy eating here, people. But I can guarantee that each bite of this treat will send you right up to pig heaven on a first class ticket. Yum.


1 artichoke, stemmed and leaves trimmed

Marie’s Creamy Italian Dressing


Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Olive Oil 


Turn oven to 350 degrees. Chop up baguette into bite size pieces, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown and crunchy looking.

Meanwhile, prepare a large pot of water and set over high heat to boil.


Cut the stem off the artichoke.




Trim the sharp points of the leaves off. Trim the top part of the artichoke off, using a knife.

August 2009 052Artichoke

Now, line an ovenproof dish with aluminum foil. Make a circle large enough for the artichoke to rest in it.


Once water is boiling, drop artichoke in and cover with a lid. Steam for about 20 minutes. Drain waiter from artichoke.

Put artichoke in foil bed, and stuff leaves with croutons. Put a few pieces of butter in leaves. Drizzle Creamy Italian dressing all over artichoke. Make sure to get it in leaves. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.




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 Grilled Artichoke with Herb Dipping Sauce

History of the Artichoke:

This vegetable is a member of the Daisy family and is native to the Mediterranean, where it was originally considered a delicacy and aphrodesiac in Rome. The artichoke was introduced to American cuisine by way of Italian immigrants who settled in the Half Moon Bay area of the California Coast at the beginning of the 20th century. There they planted fields of artichokes, and began shipping them out East. Today California still provides nearly 100% of the artichoke supply in the United States.

Artichoke sales and possession were banned in New York for a brief period during the 1920s. Ciro Terranova, a mafia member known as the “Artichoke King” began buying up all crates being transferred from the West Coast to the East Coast and reselling them for a profit. He was notorious for harassing growers and distributors. There are even stories of him personally massacring competitor crops by taking a machete and chopping down artichoke fields plant by plant. The Mayor of New York declared a statewide ban on the vegetable because of these so-called “Artichoke Wars.” However, the Mayor personally loved the vegetable and the ban only lasted one week.

The edible part of the artichoke lies in the fleshy part of the protective outer leaves (bracts) and the inner heart (flower base). The outside leaves are consumed as follows; pull out a leaf, pinch the top half withyour thumb and index finger, place the bottom half in your mouth, close your mouth, pull out the leaf while sliding off fleshy part with your teeth, discard leaf. After leaves are gone, the heart (flower base) can be eaten by spooning out the furry-looking choke (flowerets).

References:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. New York: Collier, 1984.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Stradley, Linda. “History of Artichokes”. What’s Cooking America. 2004. <http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/ArtichokeHistory.htm>

This recipe is quite simple and a wonderful spring or summer treat. We use a charcoal grill, however, if you are sans grill you may also use a broiler for the latter part.  I use the following herbs from our garden; italian parsley, rosemary, chives, lemon basil. You can use these, or whatever herbs you like.




Fresh Herbs

Light Mayonnaise

Salt and Pepper to taste

Olive Oil

Fill a pot of water large enough to hold the number of artichokes you plan to make. Turn on high to bring to a boil. While  water is heating prepare the artichokes. If the stem is attached, slice it off. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the ends of the leaves (not necessary, but these guys are prickly so getting rid of them will provide a more pleasant eating experience). I like to use a sharp knife at the top of the artichoke. There are just too many leaves to snip here. Simply chop of the top, usually about an inch. The top of the artichoke should resemble a flat-top haircut.

Once water is boiling drop prepped artichoke(s) in and cover with a lid. Bring the heat down to medium and steam for about 20 minutes. During this time you may turn on the grill to medium-high (or broiler if you are using one) and prepare the dipping sauce. Using a food processor (or blender) place about 3/4 cup of mayonnaise, half of a fresh-squeezed lemon, a handful of your herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend.

Once artichokes are steamed drain them in the sink. I like to use a strainer. Be sure the artichoke(s) is upside down when draining. Once all excess water is gone, transfer whole artichoke to a cutting board. Cut artichoke in half, revealing leafy middle. Spoon out flowerets (furry looking section right above heart) and discard.


 June 2009 015


Rub artichokes with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer to grill or broiler and prepare as follows:

Grill:  Lay artichokes on hard outside and grill for 5-10 minutes or until leaves turn golden brown and begin to curl inwards.

Broiler: Lay artichokes on hard outside on a cooking sheet lined with aluminum foil until leaves turn golden brown and begin to curl inwards.

Enjoy with the sauce!!

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