Bachelorhood can prove a chaotic course to navigate with regards to one’s nutrition, but Mark Casasanto has not let his recent entry into that lifestyle diminish his regard for robust victuals. The resident of the 300 block of Daly Street goes seasonal for us with his submission for Steamed Stuffed Artichokes with Lemon Seasoning.
The Whitman inhabitant, no stranger to this section of the paper, noted that this offering could serve as a perfect side dish for Easter Sunday gatherings and encouraged fellow South Philadelphians not to be afraid “to get messy as you enjoy each leaf, and don’t forget the heart before you finish.” If you have been going through culinary doldrums, let this advice resurrect your curiosity. ■
2 large or 4 small artichokes
3/4 to 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
6 to 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella
Olive oil (Canola oil is a fine choice, too.)
Grated Parmesan or locatelli cheese
2 cups of water
1 large lemon
Rinse, and trim the artichokes of loose or discolored leaves, mainly on the bottom near the stem. Cut off the stems so artichokes can sit flush on an even surface. Set aside.
Combine the breadcrumbs, mozzarella, lemon-pepper seasoning, and grated cheese in a medium bowl, and mix dry and well with a fork. Add your preferred oil, and mix until the combination is damp and will hold together if pinched. Set aside.
Place one artichoke at a time in a small serving bowl. Working from the bottom up, gently separate the leaves so you can place a pinch full of stuffing in between the leaf and the artichoke’s base. Work up toward the top, putting as much of the mixture as possible into the artichoke. Pour the water into a pressure cooker, and place the artichokes into its steamer basket. Drizzle oil over the stuffed goodies, and squeeze a fair amount of lemon juice on them. Sprinkle additional lemon-pepper and grated cheese on them, and gently place the products inside the cooker.
Close the steam valve, lock the lid into place, and steam on high for 12 to 14 minutes. Unlock the valve, and place the hot beauties on your plate for immediate consumption.
Photo by Mark Casasanto