"For this dish you need those wonderful Italian artichokes, not too big, but with spines on top (they are tastier), which come from Puglia, Sicily or Sardinia. The tenderest ones will have a small choke inside and are delicious to eat whole when the outer leaves and the tops have been discarded." ~ Antonio Carluccio.
To desalt the capers, soak them in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes, then drain well before using.
24 small fresh artichokes, trimmed and cleaned, removing any choke
25 ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
150 g (5 1/2 oz / 3 cups) fresh white breadcrumbs
4 Tbs milk
1 tsp salted capers, desalted (see above) and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 Tbs coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 medium egg yolks
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the stuffing, put the breadcrumbs into a bowl. Add enough milk to moisten them, then squeeze out any excess milk. Add the capers, garlic, parsley, egg yolks, olive oil and a little salt and pepper to the breadcrumbs. Mix everything together to a soft paste.
Open the tops of the artichokes with your fingers and make space for the filling. Use a small spoon to fill the hole in each artichoke with the stuffing mixture.
Place the artichokes tightly next to each other in a casserole or other stove-top braising dish. Pour over the 125 ml (4fl oz / 1/2 cup) of olive oil and top up with boiling water to raise the level to 1 cm (1/2 inch) from the top of the artichokes. Cover with the lid, and place on the stove. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 35 minutes, until the artichokes are tender. Test this by inserting the point of a sharp knife.
Eat the artichokes either by themselves as a first course, or to accompany meat or fish dishes. They can be served hot or cold.
Credits: This is an edited extract from Vegetables by Antonio Carluccio published by Hardie Grant RRP $49.99 available in stores nationally. Photographer: ©Laura Edwards
Photo Credits: This is an edited extract from Vegetables by Antonio Carluccio published by Hardie Grant RRP $49.99 available in stores nationally. Photographer: ©Laura Edwards