A while back when I was choosing ingredients to make a Mediterranean-inspired ivory lentil salad, I discovered a fun product – canned artichoke bottoms.
Now, I’m just as particular about canned foods as much as the next guy, but these are high quality; there’s no tinny taste. There is a tang to them, however, but still easier than collecting bottoms from actual artichokes.
I discovered these bottoms on Amazon, and have tried a few different brands. All have been good.
The first time I looked at these, my mind went to a stuffed artichoke bottom, similar to a stuffed mushroom – filled with flavorful Italian sausage, baked ricotta and Parmesan.
Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms
Makes 14 appetizers
2 cans artichoke bottoms, 14 bottoms total
16 ounces Italian sausage
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
Cayenne pepper flakes, to taste
8 ounces whole-milk ricotta, at room temperature, drained if necessary
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and white pepper to taste
Finely grated Parmesan or other hard grating cheese, about 4 ounces
Chopped parsley, to garnish, optional
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Drain, rinse, and dry the artichoke bottoms on paper towels.
Cook the Italian sausage until no pink remains, making sure it’s well crumbled. Add the bread crumbs and cayenne pepper flakes. Let the sausage cool.
You will have extra sausage mixture. Save it for meatballs!
Meanwhile, combine the ricotta cheese with the egg yolks along with salt and white pepper and whisk until smooth.
Fold in the parsley. Taste for seasoning.
Place the bottoms on a jelly roll pan, curved side up. Slice a little of the base if they don’t sit upright properly.
Using a teaspoon, place a little of the cooked sausage in each bottom, diving evenly.
Top with the ricotta mixture And press down slightly with the spoon.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle on the Parmesan. Raise the oven temperature To 400 degrees and continue baking for 10 more minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
In retrospect, I think the filling should have been all three components mixed together. They didn’t “layer” as well as I’d hoped.
And, the artichoke bottoms should probably dry in paper towels overnight. They were still a little wet.
These would be good with some crab or lobster as well, also mixed in with the ricotta mixture.
I might roast these next, just with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little cayenne pepper flakes.
They would be good on a charcuterie and cheese platter as well, marinated first in good olive oil, lemon, and chile peppers.
So I have a feeling I’ll be using them fairly often, for different purposes.