ABOUT THE RECIPE:
You know how I adore artichokes. I have loved ‘em since I was a little girl and whenever I see beautiful varieties in my marketplace, I cannot resist them. These Cashew Stuffed Artichokes are festive and filling with cashews and sunflower seeds showcased in a flavorful stuffing. I like to serve this colorful dish as a first course, or they do double duty as a luncheon entrée.
Makes 8 Servings
1 can (26 to 28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juice
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 slices whole-grain bread, torn into chunks
1/3 cup chopped raw or roasted cashews
¼ salted raw or roasted sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup diced fresh tomatoes
4 medium trimmed and cooked artichokes, cut in half, cooled with choke removed (see notes)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the canned tomatoes with juice over the bottom of a 9- x 12-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle the minced garlic evenly over the tomatoes.
Put the bread, cashews, sunflower seeds, basil, Italian seasoning, and sea salt in a food processor and process into coarse crumbs. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Add the optional olive oil and stir to combine. Add the fresh tomatoes and gently stir, until thoroughly combined.
Arrange the artichoke halves on top of the tomatoes and garlic in the prepared casserole dish, cut-side up. Stuff each cavity with one-eighth of the cashew/sunflower seed mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes, or until brown the top of the stuffing is golden brown.
To serve, put some of the tomato sauce from the bottom of the casserole dish on each individual serving plate and top it with 1 stuffed artichoke halves. Serve warm or cover, refrigerate and serve chilled.
PREPARING THE ARTICHOKES FOR THIS RECIPE
To trim and clean the artichokes, start by cutting off the top 1/2 to 1 inch of each artichoke to remove the spiky tips. Cut off any remaining spiky tips with kitchen shears. Trim away the tough edges of the stem. Rinse each artichoke under cold running water, spreading the leaves to rinse out any residual dirt or sand.
To cook the the artichokes, fit a steamer basket into a deep, medium-sized saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add 2 to 3 inches of cold water. Add the artichokes, making certain they are standing partially upright. Cover and bring to a boil. Steam the artichokes until crisp tender, for about 20 minutes. Let cool.
Once the artichokes are cooked and cooled, cut the artichokes in half vertically. Scoop out the fuzzy center choke with a grapefruit spoon or teaspoon. If you are cooking the artichokes ahead of making this recipe, wrap the artichokes tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 1 day before preparing this recipe. Proceed with recipe as a directed.