Bon Appιtit - September 1999

Artichokes, an Old World food, came to America with Italian immigrants and found a happy home in the near-Mediterranean climate of California. As "ethnic" fare, artichokes took their time catching on outside the Golden State. They finally did in the thirties and became something of a fad. Artichokes were not limited to the vegetable course, either. Sometimes the center "choke" was scooped out and the hollow filled with a stuffing for a fashionable light lunch entrιe.

                      6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
                      1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
                      3/4 cup finely chopped onion
                      2 celery stalks, finely chopped
                      8 garlic cloves, minced
                      3 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless sourdough bread
                      8 ounces crabmeat

                      4 large artichokes (each about 1 pound) 

                      Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion, celery and
                      garlic. Sautι until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and cool
                      completely. Mix in breadcrumbs and crabmeat. Season stuffing with salt and pepper. (Can
                      be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

                      Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut off top third of each artichoke; discard. Cut off stem. Pull out
                      yellow and small purple-tipped leaves from center. Using melon baller, scoop out fibrous

                      Gently pull leaves outward from center until leaves open slightly. Pack stuffing into each
                      artichoke cavity and between first and second center layers of leaves, mounding slightly.
                      Place artichokes in 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Add enough water to come 3/4 inch up sides
                      of dish. Cover with foil. Bake artichokes until outer leaf pulls away easily, about 1 hour 15

                      Makes 4 servings.

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