This Saturday will also see the last corned ham of the season. The menu is getting too crowded, with lots of new stuff clamoring
for space. Soon gone as well will be cheese pork and gumbo. I am happy to bring back, after a long time, our artichoke stuffed with breadcrumbs and all kinds of other stuff- mostly cheeses. We call it Artichoke Vieux Carre
, because it is a style often seen in New Orleans. I learned of it years ago from an old friend who was born and raised there. Like so many other recipes, this one now bears little resemblance
to the original. It actually bears little resemblance to the last time we served it. Normally, among it's ingredients are capers and finely minced anchovies. This year I had half a wheel of Chapel Hill Creamery's Hickory Grove cheese that I hadn't used. It had gotten a little strong
, but it was still delicious. I cut it into tiny little dice and tossed it into the stuffing which already included Parmesan, butter, fresh rosemary, garlic, olive oil, pimientos, red onions, lemon peel, and of course breadcrumbs. Capers, suddenly seemed inappropriately sour and anchovies might be gilding the lily. Besides, anchovies, although I consider them an essential seasoning, have a repellent
effect on much of the population equalled only by liver or beets.
The artichokes are steamed and cleaned and then a disk of Celebrity Dairy's chevre
is placed in the bottom. Then I cram as much of the above mentioned stuffing as possible into the heart and among the leaves of each one. They are topped with a lemon slice, drizzled with olive oil and baked until they almost fall apart. Some people can't seem to see bread crumbs as something
to eat and try to rake them to the side. I don't see what is wrong with bread myself. I guess these are the same people who object to crust on fried chicken. In Spain, I've actually been served a little dish of fried bread crumbs at tapas. And, oh yes, when the Hickory Grove is gone the capers will return.