Artichoke Balls Creole Style!
Yield 80 - 100 Hor d'oeuvres
12 LARGE ARTICHOKES
10 BAY LEAVES
1 TBSP OREGANO LEAVES
1 TBSP THYME LEAVES
2 LEMONS (Quartered)
1/4 CUP CRAB BOIL SEASONING
2 GALLONS WATER
2 CUPS ITALIAN SEASONED BREAD CRUMBS (Divided)
1-1/2 CUP PASTEURIZED EGGS (Cracked and beaten)
1 TBSP FRESHLY SQUEEZED LEMON JUICE
2 CUPS ROMANO CHEESE (Grated)
2 CUPS ASIAGO CHEESE (Grated)
1/2 CUP FRESHLY MINCED GARLIC (See Recipe)
1/2 BUNCH FRESH CURLY PARSLEY (Chopped fine)
LOT EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL (See Chef's Notes below)
Use a sharp chef's knife and cut off only 1/4 inch of the artichokes stem. Leave the artichoke with as long of a stem as possible (it will tenderize in the boil and is quite good). On the leaf end of the artichoke, cut about 1/2 inch above the heart. The intent is to cut the artichokes right at the meat line, by removing the hard leaves and leaving only the meat. An indication of a good cut is when the thistles of the heart are about 2 inches in diameter.
In a large stock pot add the water and boiling seasonings. Bring the pot to boil and add the artichokes, cover and boil the chokes until tender (minimum of 35 minutes).
Remove the artichokes and allow them to cool, discard the water... I find that it becomes somewhat bitter. Meanwhile.... in a stainless steel bowl combine the remaining ingredients, retain about one cup of bread crumbs for completion. Once the chokes have cooled remove the leaves and use a Chef's spoon to scrape off the meat from the leaves. Use the spoon to remove the thistles from the choke, also peel off the woody outer portion of the stem... Discard along with the scraped leaves.
Mash the artichoke meat with a fork or spoon, or place in a food processor and chop until a smooth paste forms. Add this paste to the bowl. Combine WELL.
Use a shallow bowl and add the remaining bread crumbs. Roll the mixture into small (1-1/4 inch) in diameter balls. Then roll the balls in the reserved bread crumbs. Arrange on the chosen serving tray, cover with film and refrigerate if desired OR of course, SERVE.
1 LB LOUISIANA BLUE
CRAB CLAW MEAT
Add this to the bowl before rolling, it will be a supersizing addition to the traditional artichoke ball recipe.
If fresh artichokes are not available, then I would suggest to use cans of water packed Artichoke Crowns (Sometimes called Bottoms). I like to use only the crowns, the quartered artichokes have too many leaves to make a smooth paste. Wash the crowns in plenty of cold water to remove the "can" taste. Then puree in a food processor. These will of course NOT be seasoned, so I would suggest adding a TSP of liquid crab boil to the mixture.
You can use granulated garlic as a substitute for fresh garlic..... Some Chef's like the smooth texture of an artichoke ball, so this is a great substitute.
Arrange the balls on a colorful display platter and serve at room temperature.
It is VERY difficult to predict how much Olive Oil you will need. Factors are: Moisture in the air... Staleness of the bread crumbs... Cheeses used.. BUT I would start out with about 3/4 cup. You want the balls to be moist but NOT runny and over powering with an oil flavor.
What makes this recipe Creole is the addition of Crab Boil Seasonings to the artichoke boil... This will give the balls a distinctive South Louisiana flavor.
Also, I strongly suggest to use
pasteurized eggs, in that way you can be assured that there is no unwanted
bacteria added to the dish.
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Chef Emile L. Stieffel, Aurora Catering, Inc. email address: ChefEmile@CustomCatering.net
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Revised: March 12, 2018.