Stuffed Artichokes Messina Style

("Carciofi Ripieni alla Messinese" - “Cacocciuli Chini 'a Messinisi”)

 

The stuffed artichokes cooked in the province of Messina are different in taste and in the smell: in fact the salami and cheese in combination with the pungent flavor of the capers and the fragrance of the fruity extra virgin olive oil produce an unusual savor appreciated by the locals and regarded as a delicacy by the gourmets.

 

Serve 6

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 artichokes trimmed for stuffing
  • 1 ½ cups of breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup of grated caciocavallo or pecorino cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of capers rinsed well and chopped finely
  • ½ cup of chopped parsley
  • ½ lb. salami finely chopped
  • ¾ cup of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves (whole)

 

Preparation of Artichokes 


When preparing artichokes for cooking, wear utility gloves so you can avoid staining your hands. Prepare a basin with water, acidulated with the juice of a lemon, to soak the artichokes after they are trimmed, to prevent discoloration. 
Wash the artichokes to remove sand, small stone or any foreign object. 
Remove stem and discard hard outer leaves, the first 2 or 3 rows, until the artichoke leaves became light in color and usually tender. Trim base cutting enough so the artichoke can stand up in the cooking pot. Cut off one-third of the petals eliminating the pointy top.

 

Preparation of the Stuffing

Step One
In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, capers, parsley, and the salami. Mix well and add half of the olive oil.

Step Two
Bang the trimmed artichokes on the counter or cutting board to loosen the leaves, press them upside down and spread the petals apart so they can be stuffed.

Step Three
Hold each artichoke over the top of the bowl containing the stuffing, sprinkle between the petals, pressing inside the artichoke. Distribute equally any remaining filling to form a cover on top to crown each artichoke.

 

Cooking  the Artichokes

Place the stuffed artichokes in a pot, close together; fill any empty space with a cup filled with water and/or use aluminum foil as filler. Cover artichokes half way with cold water and to prevent discoloration, add the lemon after squeezing a few drops of juice to the pot; also add a teaspoon of salt, the 2 garlic cloves and drizzle the remaining olive oil on top of each artichoke.
Bring pot to a boil and simmer for 30/45 minutes. Check often and if needed add some water. Check if salt is needed and add.
Artichokes are done when pulling a leaf, it comes off easily. 
Spoon the top of each artichoke with some of the cooking liquid remaining in the pot. Serve hot or at room temperature.
If you want to give an extra zest, sauté a few cloves of sliced garlic and some parsley in three tablespoon of olive oil, drizzle over the artichokes before serving.