Stuffed Artichokes Palermo Style

“Carciofi Farciti alla Palermitana”

“Cacocciuli Chini 'a Palermitana"

 

In Palermo the stuffed artichokes are prepared with cheese, salted anchovies, herbs, spices, with the right amount of saltiness 
and served as an appetizer, a side dish for dinner or for lunch with a salad and some bread.
At the Focacceria  Palermitana  at Avenue U, it was customary to prepare the  cacocciuli  chini  every Friday and Saturday and our customers and habitué patrons enjoyed them with a glass of wine.

 

Serve 6

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 artichokes trimmed for stuffing
  • 1 large finely minced onion
  • 3 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup of grated caciocavallo or pecorino or Parmigiano cheese
  • ½ cup of chopped caciocavallo or pecorino or Parmigiano cheese
  • ½ cup of chopped parsley
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • very little salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 3 salted anchovies, (optional) rinsed, filleted and cut in 18 pieces
  • ½ lemon

 

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 medium size skillet sauté the onion until golden in color using ¼ cup of oil, set on the side.
In the same skillet, lightly toast the breadcrumbs and place them in a large bowl. 
After cooling, combine with onion, garlic, the grated and chopped cheese, parsley, eggs, a little salt and pepper. Mix it well. If mixture appears too dry, add some 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. If you are using anchovies, equally divide and insert between the leaves of each artichoke

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 and pour 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