Are stuffed artichokes worth all the effort in the preparation? An Italian would say, “Yes, of course!” They are a delicacy, especially in the springtime and early summer. Stuffed with breadcrumbs and seasoning, they make a classic dish. When tuna is added, the dish becomes more substantial and deliciously different. This is a great appetizer.
- 2 lemons, 1 zested, both juiced
- 6 large artichokes
- Two 5-ounce cans Italian tuna in oil, drained
- 1 cup dried breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup drained tiny capers in brine
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and finely chopped
- ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup white wine
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Fill a bowl with cold water, and add the juice of one lemon, plus the -squeezed–out lemon halves.
To clean artichokes for stuffing, trim the stems so the artichokes will sit up straight, peel the stems, and pull off any tough outer leaves from the artichokes and discard. Using a paring knife, trim away any tough parts around the base and stem of the artichoke. With a serrated knife, cut off the top third of the artichoke and discard. Push the leaves out to expose the fuzzy purple choke. With a small spoon, scrape out the choke to expose the heart at the bottom of the artichoke. Put the prepared artichoke in the bowl of water.
For the stuffing:
In a medium bowl, break up the tuna with a fork. Stir in the breadcrumbs, lemon zest (grated), capers, chopped eggs, 3 tablespoons of the parsley, and ¼ cup of the olive oil.
Drain the artichokes, and spoon the stuffing into the center, between the leaves of the artichokes. Use your fingers to pry the leaves open. Fit the stuffed artichokes into a -9–by–13–inch baking dish (or any size that will fit them snugly). In a spouted measuring cup, whisk together the wine, juice of the other lemon, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the -red–pepper flakes, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.
Pour the sauce around the artichokes in the baking dish. Drizzle the artichokes with remaining tablespoon olive oil. Cover with foil, and bake until artichokes are tender throughout, about 40 minutes.
Uncover, and bake until the stuffing is browned and crisp, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
You can save the juiced shells of lemons by -freezing them, and then use them when you need acidulated water.