by Janet Tortorici McGraw
Like so many of humanity’s great cultures, the Sicilian diaspora gives religious weight (pardon the expression) to the communal meal. The family would populate my Grandmother’s small basement apartment with forty people. Aunts, uncles, cousins, spouses, “great” and “grand” offspring… all laughing loudly with a joy only family can share.
Hovering over the stove for a whiff of something special was customary. Grabbing a taste was socially acceptable… until I was scolded by Aunt Rose. Those times are gone but the food stays on as a part of the greatest legacy in our lives. My sister, Janet, has a catalog of specialties. Here is an all-time favorite. One is never enough! – J.T.
Bigger is not better! Buy firm artichokes about the size of your fist.
With a sharp knife, cut the tops so it is flat. Then rinse under cold water and bang on sink to open the leaves for stuffing.
Don’t bother with measuring cups. Use a mound of PLAIN bread crumbs and equal parmesean/romano cheese with garlic powder and S&P to taste. Remember cheese and bacon are salty.
I prefer maple flavored bacon. Cut the strips into small pieces.
Shove the bacon all around the inside of the artichoke; about every other leaf. Get as far to the center as possible.
Put in heavy pot large enough to hold artichokes without over crowding. They will expand in size when stuffed. Drizzle olive oil over the tops letting it wet the bread crumbs. Fill pot half way up with water. Bring to boil on stove top then cover and simmer with lid. They will burn on the bottom if flame is too high. Artichokes are done when inner leaf easily pulls out; about 30-45 minutes.