Sicilian Stuffed Artichokes and Curried Thai Mussels

Put together a dinner that you’ve probably never made before.

Marguerite Henderson shares an uncommon, but delicious artichoke and mussels recipe.

Sicilian Stuffed Artichokes
6 large artichokes
1 lemon, cut in half
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup olive oil + 4 more T. olive oil (for topping)
4 large cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
3 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 cup grated Romano cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Cut off stems and slice off a thin layer from bottom of each artichoke so they can stand upright.With a sharp knife, cut off ½” from the top of each artichoke. With kitchen shears, cut off pointy tips around each artichoke. Remove tough bottom layer of leaves. Pound each choke upside down on table to spread leaves. With a sharp knife or a grapefruit spoon, remove the choke from center of each artichoke (the purple spiny stuff).

Place artichokes in a bowl with enough water to cover and the lemon that has been squeezed into the water (acidulated water). This keeps the artichokes from turning brown while you are cleaning the remaining artichokes.

In a medium sauté pan heat the butter and ½ cup olive oil. Add garlic and sauté until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add breadcrumbs, parsley, oregano and cook on low heat until golden brown, stirring often (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat, add grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste. (Cheese is salty, so don’t add too much salt!).

Take an artichoke from water bath and bang upside on table to remove water. With a teaspoon, carefully fill the choke and leaves with about ½ cup crumb mixture per artichoke. Place each one in a pot large enough to hold all 6 upright. Add 2″ water and the 1 tablespoon salt to water. Cover; bring to boil; THEN reduce heat to low. Cook for 50-60 minutes (covered), depending on size of artichokes. Check to make sure water is not evaporating during the cooking process. Serve artichokes at room temperature. Can be made a day ahead and then reheat in oven with a little water in baking pan covered with foil.
Curried Thai Mussels
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemongrass
15 ounce can coconut milk
1 cup white wine
1 teaspoon red curry paste (or more if you like it spicy!)
3-4 pounds fresh mussels, debearded and washed well
Cilantro or Thai basil

In a large stockpot, heat the canola oil. Saute the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the curry powder, lemongrass, coconut milk, wine and red curry paste. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the mussels, cover the pot, bring heat to medium high, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir; cook until all the mussels have opened. Transfer to a large bowl and garnish with chopped cilantro or Thai basil leaves. Serves 6-8 as a first course.

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