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Creative Appetizer Recipe: Mint-Filled Artichokes
4 spearmint sprigs
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Artichokes with Spearmint Filling
Surprise your dinner guests with the fresh taste of spearmint in this simple artichoke appetizer recipe. (Or simply make the dish to enjoy for yourself as a starter or a mid-day snack!) This recipe will make approximately 4 servings of the dish (one artichoke per serving). It's a great vegetarian replacement for the popular appetizer artichoke crab dip.
Tips for Selecting the Ingredients
When selecting the artichokes, you should look for optimum freshness. This can be determined by looking carefully at the stem of the artichoke. If the stem is soft or mushy then it isn't fresh. If the stem is brown, it isn't fresh. Choose artichokes that are firm, green and lively-looking at the stem.
When selecting fresh spearmint, you will also want to look for optimum freshness. Hold the bunch of spearmint straight up and see that the sprigs do not droop. Look for spearmint sprigs that do not have broken or bending stems. Make sure that the spearmint looks green and alive and that it's not fading or wilting.
Create a Spearmint Paste
The first step in this recipe is to create a spearmint paste. This is done by finely chopping the sprigs of spearmint and the cloves of garlic together. Add the salt to the mixture and blend by hand until you have a paste. Set aside this mixture until you are ready to use it as the filling.
Prepare the Artichokes
Next you will prepare the artichokes for the recipe. Do the following:
- Rinse the artichokes.
- Remove the outer leaves of the artichokes. You want to slowly pull off the darkest outer leaves to reveal the lighter-colored leaves on the inside of each artichoke.
- Cut off the top and stem of each artichoke. You will cut approximately one inch off of the top and half inch off of the stem. What you're looking to do is to cut enough off to reveal the inner core of the artichoke from both ends.
- Use a knife to trim down the sides of the stem until you have reached the inner core of the artichokes. The purpose of this is for the inner core to serve as a handle by which you will be able to lift up the artichoke appetizer and eat it off of the core.
- Use your finger to flatten in the center of the artichoke. The purpose is to create a small hole for the spearmint filling.
Complete the Recipe
When the artichokes are ready, you can add the filling and cook them to complete the recipe. First, you will spoon the filling into each artichoke in the center that you have carved out for this purpose. Next you will pour the olive oil into a saucepan and place the filled artichokes into the pan. Cover the pan. Braise the artichokes on very low temperature for one hour. Remove from heat.
Ready and Serve
The artichoke appetizer is ready to serve as is. However, you can also make some final additions to the appetizer for that extra bit of oomph. For example, you might want to drizzle a light flavored olive oil on to the artichokes before serving them. Alternatively, you may want to add salt and pepper. Or you may wish to add a bit of lemon juice to the artichokes for a fuller flavor. Season to taste and serve warm.
Goes Well With ... Spinach Salad Recipes
This artichoke dish is a great vegetarian dish that goes well with salads. (As mentioned before, it's an ideal vegetarian replacement for artichoke crab dip.) In particular, it goes really well with spinach salad recipes. In particular, spinach salad recipes with lemon flavored dressing are a great compliment to this dish. Look online for simple spinach salad recipes to compliment this artichoke appetizer.
Note: This recipe has been adapted from a recipe called Spearmint-Stuffed Artichokes which is included in a Slow Food Cookbook by Katrina Heron.
- Full Belly Farm - Organic Vegetables, Fruit & Wool
The original recipe was contributed to the Slow Food Cookbook by a member of Fully Belly Farm. Full Belly Farm is a certified organic farm offering vegetables, fruit and wool to people living in Northern California.
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