One thing that often stops me from making artichokes, which I just love, is the hassle of preparing the artichokes. It's easy enough to cut off the stem, the top, and trim the outer leaves, but getting that choke out of a whole, uncooked artichoke is such a pain. When Jessica and I made these fabulous artichokes (recipe follows), I did the usual trimming, then cut them in half lengthwise. I let them simmer in a large pot of water so they were completely submerged (I put a plate on top of them to hold them down) for about 15 minutes. I removed them from the pot and it was a piece of cake to simply scoop out the choke and spiky inner leaves with a spoon. Then they were ready to stuff and bake.
Blue cheese stuffed artichokes with parmesan butter
2 large artichokes, prepared as noted above (halved, boiled, de-choked)
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/2 cup panko (or regular bread crumbs, if you prefer)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 Tbs. melted butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 stick of butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine blue cheese, panko, cilantro, parsley and 2 Tbs. melted butter to create a crumbly mixture. Spoon between artichoke leaves, dividing mixture among the 4 artichoke halves. Lay artichokes, cut side up, on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
While artichokes are baking, combine remaining 1/2 stick of butter and grated parmesan in a small bowl and heat in microwave until butter is melted. Drizzle a teaspoon or so over each artichoke when they come out of oven. Use remainder as a dip for the artichoke leaves. Enjoy!