ARTICHOKES OR TOMATOES STUFFED WITH MINTED SPINACH
Yield: 2 cups stuffing
4 large artichokes or beefsteak tomatoes
10 ounces fresh baby leaf spinach
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves
2 jumbo or 3 large eggs, hard boiled
1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 pound white American mushrooms, sliced very thin Optional: 1 tablespoon soaked and
chopped sun dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil, or 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup unsifted matzo meal or fine bread crumbs Olive oil or melted butter to dot the tops
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar mixed with 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
||With a serrated edge knife, cut off stems so artichokes will stand straight. Cut off tops one-third from the top. With a scissor, cut points off each leaf. Artichoke will now resemble a flower. Bring to a boil in water to cover with 2 lemon. Cover and boil gently until a leaf pulls away easily. Artichokes are tricky. Undercooked they are hard and inedible. Overcooked they fall apart. Remove from water and turn upside down on paper toweling to drain and cool.
||Carefully remove cactus centers with a small spoon, leaving the bottoms in tact.
||Cook spinach in water to cover. Drain and squeeze out all water. Chop fine by hand or in food processor. Chop mint fine and combine with the spinach.
||Cover eggs with cold water and a little white vinegar. Bring to a boil. Boil hard 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand in water 6 more minutes. Peel immediately under cold, running water. Chop rather coarse.
||Combine minced shallot, garlic and sliced mushrooms (sun dried tomatoes) with the oil (butter) and cook over low heat until soft but not colored. Stir in spinach mixture. Stir in eggs. Stir in salt and pepper.
||Fill the artichoke centers. Or, slice beefsteak tomatoes into halves, slicing off a thin layer from the ends to allow them to sit straight. Scoop out the seeds and fill.
||Sprinkle tops with bread crumbs or matzo meal. Dot the tops with melted butter or olive oil and set under the broiler until brown.
||Mix 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar with 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Garlic lovers may add a whiff of fresh or powdered for flavor. Spoon vinaigrette around the base of each artichoke to serve.
|NOTE: These may be made several hours in advance (or, the day before). To heat: Preheat oven to 350°F. Set artichokes on a baking sheet to become hot. Or, Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high temperature 1 minute. Check. Microwave longer, if necessary.