Baked Stuffed Artichokes

These are just the way my mom prepared them -- with seasoned bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese. My mom didn't insert the lemon in the middle, but I love the way it looks. Plus, I like to "clean" the artichokes before stuffing and baking them (that means getting rid of the fuzzy portion). Why? So that once I serve them, folks can enjoy the leaves and get to the "heart" with ease. 

Note: How do you eat an artichoke? First, you work your way IN from the OUTER leaves. Pluck each leaf, scrape the base of leaf (and the filling that's on it) against your top teeth to get both the flesh of the leaf and stuffing in one bite. Discard the rest of the leaf. Once you get to the "heart", hold on tight -- it's downright incredible. 

Baked Stuffed Artichokes
Note: This recipe can easily be halved or doubled to serve as many people as you have. 

4 artichokes
1 lemon, sliced, plus extra lemons if you want to insert them in the middle of the artichoke before baking (1 lemon per artichoke)
1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Cut the stem end of each artichoke so it stands upright. Cut about 1-inch from the top to remove the spiky tops of the leaves. Use kitchen scissors to remove the pointy ends of each leaf. Place the artichokes in a large pot of water with the sliced lemon. Set the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. 
Drain upside-down on paper towels. 
When cool enough to handle, remove the inner leaves (you can just grab them), revealing the fuzzy portion on top of the heart. Use a small spoon to scrape away that fuzzy portion. 
Fill the leaves with the bread crumbs and parmesan. Make sure to fill every leaf!! I tend to fill each leaf with about 1/2 teaspoon filling, but you can use as much as you like. 
Place the artichokes in a baking pan and, if desired, insert a lemon in the middle. Cover with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the tops are golden. Serve warm or room temperature. 

Serves 4