What was once a special event for holiday meals before I opened Tanoreen has become one of the most highly requested dishes at the restaurant. An artichoke served whole in its flower-like state is a show-stopper, but when you stuff those emerald leaves with a bounty of fresh crab, shrimp, and clams, it soars to new heights.
These elegant artichokes are suited to be enjoyed communally, with family and friends gathered around the table together pulling apart the seafood-mounded, nature-made spoons. Alternatively, they can be split in half for a bountiful plated appetizer or even offered as the main event, with each diner receiving his or her own artichoke with rice pilaf or crusty warmed bread alongside.
Not a fan of clams? Prefer lobster to crab or scallops to shrimp? You can substitute any seafood you like, as long as the measurements stay the same. Want to go gluten-free? Go on and remove the breadcrumbs, and add an extra egg white as a binder.
Makes 4 large artichokes.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons crushed garlic
- 1 long hot or other chile, finely diced (optional)
- 1 pound (16/20 size) shrimp, peeled, deveined, and finely chopped
- 8 ounces shucked littleneck clams (optional)
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- Sea salt
- 2 cups lump crabmeat
- 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs (I prefer panko)
- 1/4 cup Cilantro-Basil Pesto or store-bought pesto
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Juice of 2 lemons, plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 large egg white, beaten
- 4 large artichokes, cleaned and cooked
- 2 cups clam juice
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chile, if using, and cook until aromatic but not colored, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp and clams, if using, and cook until cooked through but not rubbery, about 2 minutes. Add the coriander and black pepper and season with salt. Stir to combine, then remove from the heat and cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, breadcrumbs, pesto, cilantro, juice of 2 lemons, lime zest, egg white, and shrimp mixture. Season with salt and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Fill the center the artichokes with the stuffing. Starting from the outside, place a teaspoon or so of stuffing behind each of the leaves so that the whole artichoke opens like a flower. Nestle the artichokes closely together in a baking dish and drizzle with oil. Top with whatever remains of the stuffing.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the clam juice, chicken broth, and 1/4 cup lemon juice and drizzle it evenly over the artichokes, allowing it to drip to the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the dish tightly with a sheet of waxed paper followed by aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove the foil and waxed paper and bake until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes more.
More than a stuffing: The seafood stuffing in this recipe can also work as a topping for pasta. Simply heat it up with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and toss together with cooked spaghetti. It can also top crostini to make a beautiful appetizer. You might also like to serve it cold as a seafood salad. So if you have any extra stuffing leftover, make sure it works double-duty for you.
How to Prepare Artichokes
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a generous handful of salt.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the stems off the artichokes so they sit flat. Lay each artichoke on its side and cut off the top inch or so to reveal the fuzzy choke. Use kitchen shears to snip the top quarter inch or so off each leaf to remove the prickly barbs.
- Using a melon baller or teaspoon, dig out the chokes (including the feathery fronds) so the artichokes are clean, empty, and ready to be stuffed.
- Add the artichokes to the boiling water and return to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until you can easily pull a leaf from the center of the artichokes.
- Transfer the artichokes to a bowl filled with water and ice to stop the cooking and to cool them enough to handle and stuff. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
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Cover courtesy of Kyle Books
Excerpted with permission from Levant: New Middle Eastern Cooking from Tanoreen by Rawia Bishara, published by Kyle Books, 2018.