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Artichoke PoppersMakes Servings
Mellow artichoke hearts are stuffed with herbed mascarpone cheese and salty bites of pancetta, then rolled in crispy Panko crumbs and baked or deep fried until gooey on the inside with a crunchy, garlic-infused crust. Be sure to read the notes (below the recipe) for tips on buying ingredients for this dish.
4 large artichoke hearts (see notes below)
4 oz. Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pancetta, minced and rendered until crisp
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or the equivalent bottled hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco
1/4 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves (or a bit less to taste, rosemary has a strong flavor)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
Egg wash: 2 eggs beaten with 1/4 cup of milk
2 cups Panko crumbs or Italian-style crumbs
1/2 cup garlic infused olive oil (1/2 cup of oil with one finely minced garlic clove)
- Drain the artichokes well and carefully squeeze out as much of the brine as possible. Daub the artichokes with paper towels to aid in drying.
- In a medium bowl, mix the mascarpone, parmesan, pancetta, garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley and rosemary. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add approximately 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture to the open, choke side of the artichoke and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Set up the breading station. Place the flour in one dish, the egg wash in a shallow bowl, and the Panko in a separate dish. Remove the artichokes from the freezer. Dredge the artichokes in the flour, dip in the egg wash, coat with the Panko, and place on the same baking sheet. Repeat until all artichokes have been breaded. Place the baking sheet into the freezer for another 20 minutes. While you preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Remove the artichokes from the freezer and lightly brush the tops with the garlic-infused olive oil. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 7-10 minutes or until the cheese is soft and the breading is golden. Sprinkle with salt to taste and serve.
- Fresh artichokes are best, but canned or frozen can also be used. If using canned, purchase whole artichoke hearts packed in water, not oil. Carefully dry as much of the moisture on the artichokes as possible with a paper towel before breading.
- Bacon can be substituted for the pancetta, and cream cheese can be substituted for the mascarpone cheese. Italian style bread crumbs can be substituted for Panko crumbs.
- Artichoke poppers may also be deep fried. Remove from the freezer and fry in a neutral oil at 360 F until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack with paper towels under the rack to catch any oil and immediately sprinkle with salt.