Ocean Mist. When I was working on my first cookbook I needed artichokes and it wasn’t quite artichoke season. Fortunately Ocean Mist came to my rescue and kindly shipped me a whole carton full and I’ve been a fan ever since. I've found each of the varieties of artichokes they grow to be particularly plump and meaty with great flavor and not overly bitter. I'm a subscriber to their newsletter (join the free Artichoke Club) which alerts me to when and where artichokes are on sale locally and sometimes also gives away artichokes.
Most recipes use just the artichoke hearts or they call for stuffing the whole artichoke with bread crumb stuffing. I decided to try an entirely different kind of stuffing — lemon and goat cheese polenta. Artichokes tend to make other ingredients taste sweet, so the tangy and salty flavor profile of lemon and cheese complements it perfectly. It will seem like a lot of polenta, but it's what makes the dish so hearty. Use as much or as little of the polenta as you like.
This is a very satisfying vegetarian main dish. If you don't have a microwave oven, you can prepare the artichoke and the polenta any way you prefer. Artichokes can be steamed on the stove and polenta can be cooked on the stove or in the oven, see instructions on the package. Note: This recipe requires that you trim off the stem. But don't throw it away! Steam it and peel it, and you'll find it has the same flavor and texture of an artichoke heart.
Polenta Stuffed Artichokes
Single serving, easily multiplied
1 large globe artichoke
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup medium polenta
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 Tablespoons fresh goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon minced parsley
Remove the tough outer leaves of the artichoke and cut off top 1/2 inch of the leaves so the top is flat and no thorny tips remain. Trim the stem so the artichoke will stand upright. Cook the artichoke, as desired until tender. To steam in the microwave: Place the artichoke stem side up with 1/4 cup of water in a microwave safe soup mug or bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave at 1000 watts for 6 minutes).
To make the polenta in the microwave: Combine the water, milk and polenta in a microwave safe 2 quart casserole with a lid. Cover partially and microwave at 500 watts for 8 minutes. Stir then microwave, uncovered, for another 2 minutes or until thick and creamy. Stir in the salt, lemon zest, Parmigiano Reggiano and the goat cheese until smooth.
Stand the artichoke on a plate. Gently pull the leaves back and spread them to make room for the stuffing. Spoon the polenta into the leaves using a small dessert spoon or teaspoon. Sprinkle with parsley.