Stuffed Artichokes with Fresh Green Peas, a Healthy Mediterranean Style Dinner
Light and healthy
A meatless meal
I had never tried this recipe until I moved to Dalmatia, but now I'm hooked.
Here, artichokes are much smaller. The size of a fist is a "biggie". The procedure here is to prepare them stuffed, then boil them slowly and thoroughly before adding green peas, or larger legumes called "beežh" which are a cross between a pea and a lima bean.
Home Grown Artichokes
Artichokes are seasonal. In the month of May you can find them in the outdoor markets, or if you are lucky to have a neighbor who has artichoke plants, perhaps you can get him or her to sell you a bagful of them. Eat them now - because the next season won't come around for a long, long time.
Here they are at the end of their cooking cycle. Be sure to keep them halfway uncovered so they don't turn brown. Covering halfway is a good compromise, you save energy and lessen cooking time.
Using home made breadcrumbs (see my link, Practical Uses for Day Old Bread) you will need to combine the following ingredients:
Finely chopped fresh garlic, about 5 cloves for 10 artichokes, minced parsley, finely rolled breadcrumbs - about 1-1/2 cups, 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash and - if you really need it - 1 teaspoon of salt. 1 Tablespoon tomato paste, a glass of wine, and olive oil, about 1/4 cup. 1 or 2 bay leaves a Tablespoon of sweet paprika (red powder - not the fiery one). 1/2 tsp white pepper.
In a medium sized bowl, mix the olive oil with the breadcrumbs, finely ground to powder. I chop the garlic once and then a second time with the parsley, then salt or Mrs. Dash and the white pepper.
The artichokes need to be soaked in two or three waters. Carefully clean the stems of tiny leaves, which are too tiny to eat. The top "choke" portion needs to be sawed off only at the peak which helps open the flower better to stuff it with the breadcrumb mixture.
Place the stuffed artichokes into a shallow pot and fill it to the halfway mark, so that the artichokes are half immersed in water. Once the arties start cooking, lower the flame so that the cooking process will continue but that the artichokes won't boil.
I cover the pot, at least partially, and let them cook. After about twenty minutes it's time to shake the pot. Using pot holders, make a quarter turn, which prevents any fallen breadcrumbs from sticking to the bottom. It's OK to use a wooden spoon as well, just don't break up the fragile artichoke flowers.
When the artichokes are becoming much softer, towards the end of cooking, it's time to add peas. Fresh frozen are usually a very good choice, unless you know a good canned version. If so, simply drain and add. Baby peas are delicious and a welcome addition to this dish.
Cooking time varies as to the size of the artichokes, but generally speaking, it will take a good hour for them to cook through. Test with a fork. The artichokes should be tender but soft, and preferably not brownish. A khahi green and soft is the right combination.
Serve them in a shallow plate with curved edges, because they are liquid based. My husband prefers eating them with day old french bread to better absorb the vegetables' juices. By all means, pour yourself a glass of wine or beer, and enjoy. The leaves are individually dragged across the upper teeth to get the "meat" of the artichoke, then tossed into a pot or plate in the center of the table.