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Freshie Faves: Stuffed Artichoke “Bottoms”

Did you know artichokes have bottoms? Well, of course you did. But until one of my fellow FRESHies pointed out that you can buy them  – Cento Artichoke Bottoms, in our grocery aisle – I’d never given much thought to the business end of an artichoke.

Turns out, they are just as delicious as artichoke hearts, and even more versatile. They’re perfect little bite-size morsels, giving you an edible little veggie cup that just calls out to be stuffed with some culinary delight.

You may know Cento for its wonderful Italian tomato products, but these artichoke bottoms are my new favorite product. They’re cute, too, about 1 1/1 inches round, with a divot in the middle that is just right for a bit of dip or filling, for a snack or a party-worthy appetizer.

Be creative when picking a stuffing. My burst of creativity was to go see my favorite Seafood Manager, Chef John Peters here at FRESH. He makes a dreamy Creole crab cake that doubles as a quick, elegant stuffing. His recipe calls for two crab cakes per can of 7 to 9 artichoke bottoms, but I used just one, for a slightly lighter dish.

Creole Artichoke Bottoms

2 FRESH Creole Crab Cakes (found in the Seafood Department)
1 can Cento artichoke bottoms
4 Tbs grated grana padano cheese
4 Tbs breadcrumbs
1 bottle of FRESH Ravigote Sauce (found in the Seafood Department)
1 bunch chives

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Wash artichoke bottoms, dry, and moisten each bottom with a little extra virgin olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and stuff each bottom with a portion of the Creole crab cake. (Figure approximately one-quarter crab cake per artichoke bottom.)

Mix cheese and breadcrumbs in a separate bowl and top each stuffed artichoke. Then bake for 20 minutes or until crab cakes are fully cooked. Garnish with diced chives and ravigote sauce.