I love artichokes but I hate the process of trimming and cleaning them. Roasting or braising them whole is an easy way to get all the artichoke goodness without the hassle.
My below recipe for braised artichokes is a Roman-style dish. Artichokes are technically a thistle and are a big deal in southern Italy, where you see them everywhere. (In fields, on tables, as part of the landscape… literally everywhere.) You eat them the old-school way by peeling back the individual leaves and scraping them through your front teeth, which is more fun that is sounds. 🙂
The artichokes soften in water laced with parmesan, which is a great way to use up those parmesan rinds. Mint and breadcrumbs with a little cheese and lemon gives a fresh pop of flavor. It you like salty snacks – like potato chips – try this instead.
Braised Whole Artichokes with Mint, Parmigiano Reggiano and Breadcrumbs
1 Parmesan rind
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2-3 tablespoons torn mint leaves
Sea salt, to taste
Fill a stockpot with a gallon of water and place parmesan rind in the water. Put the parmesan rind in water and simmer over medium heat for an hour.
While the parm broth simmers, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, add the panko, stir to coat in the oil, and continue to stir to evenly toast the crumbs. Set aside.
Clean the artichokes by taking off the first layer of hard outer leaves, trimming the stem so it can sit flush onto a work surface. Spread the leaves back and use a spoon to scoop out the center choke. There are a bunch of small prickly leaves to remove but once you see a flat surface, you’re good – that’s the heart.
Add artichokes to parmesan broth and simmer until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the artichoke’s size. Lift the artichokes out of the water and place on a platter.
Garnish with remaining olive oil, lemon zest and juice, parmesan, breadcrumbs, torn mint and a sprinkle of salt.