Appetizers & Snacks, How-to Basics, Recipes, Sides

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs

How to cook artichokes.Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 22.3

Today’s post is not exactly a recipe that I felt was ready to be shared publicly, but seeing how it’s National Artichoke Hearts Day, the timing cannot be any better. Artichokes can be a little intimidating if you have never eaten or cooked them. As a matter of fact, I have to be honest with you.  I have only cooked artichokes maybe two or three times in my lifetime.  Every time that I’ve cooked them, we would just pair them with mayonnaise.  It’s the way my Mom taught me how to eat them and I’ve enjoyed them that way ever since.

Earlier this week I attempted to cook some at home and wanted to do something different with them.  For the most part, the end result turned out alright.  The artichokes were easy to cook and came out perfect. Was it so delicious that I’d make it again?  Maybe, however I’d tweak it a little next time. I did learn a little more about how to cook and prepare them while experimenting last week though. So if anything, this post is mostly about showing you how to prepare and cook an artichoke. The recipe part is just one idea on how you can eat them after they’ve been cooked.

I hope you enjoy reading what I’ve learned in this experiment!

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 1For the artichokes: I used 4 medium sized artichokes but you can use larger ones.

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 23Prepping the artichokes:

Chop off the stem and about 1/3 off the top.  Trim off the thorny tips with kitchen scissors and rinse the artichoke well under cold water.  Rub each one with fresh lemon juice to help keep it from browning while you prepare the others.

Before this, I used to just fill a pot with water and boil the artichokes without any preparation.  After watching a few videos on YouTube and researching a bunch of recipes, I found there is a common and preferred method when cooking artichokes.  So I did that here!

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 7Use a steamer or place a steam basket in a large pot filled with about 3 cups of water.  Make sure the water doesn’t reach the bottom of the steam basket.  Place the prepped artichokes on top of the steam basket, cover and bring the water to a boil.  Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to a low simmer.

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 8Steam for 30 – 40 minutes depending on how big the artichokes are.

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 9After 30 minutes, use a toothpick to check to see if they are done by piercing the bottom of one of the artichokes.  If the toothpick slides through easily, they are ready.  You’ll notice in the picture above I used a fork.  That was not a good idea.  The size of artichokes I used were smaller in size and as soon as I poked the fork through it, I basically cut the artichoke heart in half.  That’s why you only see three baked hearts with breadcrumbs in the final picture.  I ended up eating it ;).

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 10Let them cool when done.

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 11Now for the breadcrumbs.   I don’t know what it is about the ends of a loaf of bread that never get eaten.  No one in my house eats them.  So I always store them in the fridge to use for breadcrumbs later.  Does that happen in your house too?  Anyway, lets make some breadcrumbs.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Lay 8 or 9 slices of bread onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, flip them over and bake the other side of the slices for another 15 minutes.

While the bread is toasting, gather the following ingredients:

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 12.2Start by mincing the mint leaves and mixing them into the mayonnaise.  Set that aside.

When the bread is done drying in the oven, let it cool enough so that you can break them into smaller pieces that will fit into a food processor.  Add half of the slices and all the parmesan into the food processor bowl and pulse a few times to crumble.

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 13Add the salt and parsley.

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 14And the remaining slices of bread.

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 15Pulse again repeatedly until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 16Reserve 2 tablespoons and transfer the remaining breadcrumbs into an airtight container for storage.

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 17Combine 1 heaping tablespoon of breadcrumbs with the mint and mayo.

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 24Remove the leaves and fibers (choke) from the hearts (here’s a good video I found during my research on how to do this) and spread about a teaspoon or so on top of each artichoke heart then top with a light sprinkle of dried bread crumbs.

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 20Turn on your broiler to low.  Toast under the broiler for 10 minutes.

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs 22One of the reasons I hesitated on sharing this recipe was because I felt like it still needed some tweaking.  I was thinking maybe I should have baked them instead, or added something else to the mayo and breadcrumbs.  And then another blogger buddy I follow on Instagram (@love2_bloom) mentioned she likes to make panko breaded artichoke hearts with a marinara dipping sauce. After I read her comment, I thought “dangit!”  “That might be exactly what this needed!”  She hit the nail on the head for me.  So that’s what I’ll be trying next time.

 

Artichokes and Breadcrumbs
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 cups breadcrumbs, 4 artichoke hearts
 
Ingredients
  • 4 medium to large artichokes
  • 1 fresh lemon cut in half
  • 8-9 slices of regular sandwich bread
  • ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, shredded or cut into cubes
  • ½ cup parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon mint, minced
Instructions
  1. Prepping the artichokes: Chop off the stem and about ⅓ off the top. Trim off the thorny tips with kitchen scissors and rinse the artichoke well under cold water. Rub each one with fresh lemon juice to help keep it from browning while you prepare the others.
  2. Use a steamer or place a steam basket in a large pot filled with about 3 cups of water. Make sure the water doesn’t reach the bottom of the steam basket. Place the prepped artichokes on top of the steam basket, cover and bring the water to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Steam for 30 – 40 minutes depending on how big the artichokes are. After 30 minutes, use a toothpick to check to see if they are done by piercing the bottom of one of the artichokes. If the toothpick slides through easily, they are ready. Let them cool.
  3. Making the breadcrumbs: Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Lay 8 or 9 slices of bread onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip them over and bake the other side of the slices for another 15 minutes.
  4. While the bread is toasting, combine the minced mint and mayonnaise. Set aside.
  5. When the bread is done drying in the oven, let it cool enough so that you can break them into smaller pieces that will fit into a food processor. Add half of the slices and all the parmesan into the food processor bowl and pulse a few times to crumble. Add the parsley, salt, and remaining toasted bread slices. Pulse again repeatedly until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Reserve 2 tablespoons and transfer the remaining breadcrumbs into an airtight container for storage.
  6. Remove the leaves and fibers (choke) from the hearts and spread about a teaspoon of the breadcrumbs and mayo on top of each artichoke heart then top with a light sprinkle of dried bread crumbs. Turn on your broiler to low. Toast under the broiler for 10 minutes.