I can't remember exactly when I first had stuffed artichokes, but it was probably during the time I was living on the Gulf Coast and shrimp was very cheap. We would go to the docks, where the shrimp boats unloaded their freshly caught crustaceans, and buy large amounts of the shrimp for as little as fifty cents a pound. Then we went home, divided them up into plastic bags, and froze them. This recipe started out long ago, probably in Louisiana, as a reliable family dish made with stale bread and cheap shrimp. Back then, shrimp wasn't fancy food, it was a basic source of protein, like inexpensive ground beef. Well, shrimp certainly isn't cheap anymore--I paid $9 for a pound. But, it was worth it.
Stuffing an artichoke is very easy. Start off by cutting about one inch off the top, then trim the stem so that the artichoke sits flat and stable on the counter. Rub the cut surfaces with a lemon and then boil them in a large pot of salty water for about 20 minutes, or until the tip of a knife can be inserted into the bottom easily. Then take them out ahd drain them upside down in a colander.
Make the stuffing and use a spoon and your fingers to press it into the large leaves. You could also remove the small center leaves and the fuzzy choke in the middle of the artichoke and fill it as well. I didn't do that this time.
Then place each artichoke in the middle of a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil, carefully wrap it, twisting it at the top. Make sure the foil is pressed firmly against the leaves, to keep the stuffing in. Then place them in a large covered pot with one inch of boiling water, and steam for 20 minutes.
One essential ingredient for this dish is parsley. It's tossed into the stuffing along with Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and the cooked shrimp. Parsley is crucial to many recipes from the Gulf Coast, so of course it is perfect for this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging, which was created by the marvelous Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, but is being hosted this week by the lovely Myriam of Once Upon a Tart. Head over to her blog and you will behold a most interesting Roundup of herby recipes from all over the world.
Artichokes Stuffed With Shrimp
4 large artichokes
1 pound of uncooked, shelled shrimp finely chopped
5 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
6 cups freshly made bread crumbs or 5 cups Panko crumbs
1 cup finely chopped onions
4-5 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 heaping cup of finely chopped parsley
about 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 lemon, cut in half
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut about one inch off the top of each artichoke, then trim the stems so that they sit flat and stable on the counter. Rub the cut surfaces with a lemon and boil them in a large pot of salty water for about 20 minutes, or until the tip of a knife can be inserted into the bottom easily. Take them out ahd drain them upside down in a colander.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and put the onions and garlic in it and saute over medium high heat until they have softened, then add the shrimp and cook it until it is done. Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste, then put the mixture into a large bowl.
Wipe out the skillet with paper towels and add the butter to it and melt over medium high heat. Don't let the butter brown. Then add the bread crumbs and stir over the heat until they are crisp and browned. If you are using Panko, the crumbs will already be crispy, so stir it until it has browned a bit. It takes less time with the Panko. When done, put the bread crumbs into the bowl with the shrimp. Then add the cheese, parsley, lemon peel and season with salt and pepper.
Using a teaspoon and your fingers, push stuffing into the leaves firmly. Then place each artichoke on a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap the foil securely around it, twisting the foil at the top. Place the artichoke bundles into a large pot, with 1 inch of boiling water, cover, and steam for 20 minutes. Serve the artichokes alone or with a vinaigrette salad dressing, if you desire.
Note: You can leave out the shrimp and use the bread stuffing and it will taste wonderful.