Crawfish Stuffed Artichokes

Prep Time: 2 Hours
Yields: 6 Servings

There are as many recipes for stuffed artichokes as there are Italian families in New Orleans. This is one of those traditional favorites. There are many flavor variations to this dish, especially those using fresh herbs such as basil, rosemary and oregano.

6 whole artichokes
1 pound crawfish tails, drained and chopped
6 lemon slices
½ pound smoked bacon, sliced
6 cups Italian bread crumbs
1½ cups freshly grated Romano cheese
1½ cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
½ cup minded parsley
½ cup minced garlic
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
2 tbsps chopped basil
3 cups extra virgin olive oil

Clean artichokes by clipping tips of leaves with sharp scissors. Cut large stems from bottom so artichokes will sit flat. Rinse artichokes well. Rub lemon on cut ends to prevent browning. Reserve lemon for cooking process. Fry bacon until crisp, drain. Crumble bacon into a large mixing bowl. Add all remaining ingredients, but reserve 1½ cups olive oil for later use. Using your hands, blend ingredients well. Press firmly down on artichokes to spread open leaves, so there will be plenty of room to stuff. Place 1 artichoke at a time into a bowl with stuffing mixture. To stuff, start with bottom leaves and work your way up to fill center, pushing as much into leaves as possible. Tap each artichoke gently to let any loose stuffing fall off. Continue until all 6 artichokes have been stuffed. Stand stuffed artichokes in a large roasting pan with lid. NOTE: Artichokes should be on a rack 1 inch above water. Pour 1 inch of water in bottom. Slowly drizzle ¼ cup olive oil over each artichoke to coat well. Top with lemon slices. Cover, bring water to a boil then reduce to simmer. Allow artichokes to steam 1–1½ hours. Check water level, and add more if necessary. Serve 1 whole artichoke hot or warm as an entrée or split in half and serve as an appetizer. NOTE: It is always best to grate fresh cheese for this recipe. The pre-grated variety looses a lot of flavor on the shelf, so it should be avoided. If desired, top each artichoke with grated cheese and place under a broiler until cheese melts and begins to brown.

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