Warning! This is all about the story and not about the recipe. Story … you never knew an artichoke dip with so much story!
Let me preface this by saying that I know artichokes. My parents raised them in the back yard. Even split our 6 or so plants to create even more. And we ate Every Single One of Them. Nothing wasted at that home. After I moved out and my parents could embark on their well earned travel, I tended said plants. Thats where I learned that artichokes go dormant for a few months every year. No matter how much you water them to keep them green, dormant they will go.
So, we’re looking for some kind of green veg to accompany our Sopranos Sunday Dinner, and preferably something that can be made before hand. Found a lovely recipe for artichokes stuffed with mozzarella and breadcrumbs and other yummy stuff. There’s nothing like winter time for breaking out those recipes where you start with a perfectly healthy vegetable and add lots of cheese, breadcrumbs and the like!
Long story short … I used the cookbook with the beautiful photos and lousy recipes. It instructed me to clean out the choke from each artichoke (before cooking? are you kidding me? these things are tough as weeds!), stuff with lovely mozzarella breadcrumb goodies, set in a pan with water, and bake for 45 minutes. Huh? No way that could work in my many years of experience with these fine thistles, but I’m always ready to learn a new trick. Strike one.
The dinner party is nearing and I figure I can cook a stinking artichoke. Cute small little artichokes are purchased and steamed lightly, left to set with stuffing all ready to go. Small, did I mention small? I cannot use a spoon to scoop out the middle of the adorably cute, perfectly portioned artichokes because they are too small and the leaves overlap too tightly in the middle. Determined, I make enough of them workable. Not a happy camper. Strike two.
Stuff the darned things and set in the oven with a bit of water to keep them from drying out. Dinner party starts, Sunday Gravy is set, Italian sausages are simmering perfectly, artichokes are alright. Main course comes around (our part as hosts of the gathering) and the artichokes literally fall apart in my hands! Ugh! Ready to toss the whole shebang, my friend J says that my bad experience looks like the makings of a lovely dip. Gotta love a good friend!
Long story short, we salvaged enough artichokes to get a bit of green on our meat and pasts laden plates. Everything that fell apart was tossed into a bowl, chopped the next day, mixed with the extra stuffing and tossed into the oven to bake. With that much artichoke in the dish, it was pretty green, but boy oh boy was it good!
If you are into stuffed artichokes, you’ll love this mixture. If not, just be glad you weren’t trying to present this to a party of 10. Let’s all just sit back and have a little laugh together with a bite of very green, very artichokey dip!
5 oz fresh mozzarella, diced or shredded
1 lemon, juiced
4 TBS parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 TBS fresh breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste