Eat seasonal! Eat fresh! Eat good food! In my world that’s the mantra to live by.

Stuffed Artichokes with Thai Shrimp Salad on

While I crave ultimate comfort foods like blackened seafood pastas, the perfectly cooked steak and grilled cheese sandwiches, you’ll never find me shying away from super fresh, in-season fare that’s light on the palate but heavy on flavor.

I’ve always been a big artichoke fan. Heck, it was my second post ever on this little bloggity blog. And now…my how things have changed. I didn’t even realize I needed to post my own recipes back then, and just look at how Smudge was just a smudge!

When it comes to the green leafy orb, you could eat it the traditional route. Melted butter for tender leaf dipping. Another swath of mayo (nay to the Miracle Whip on my side of the table) and into the mouth. That’s the way most artichoke dipping begins and ends.

But we’re going lighter this time around with a rice wine vinegar seasoned Thai flavored shrimp salad to top every tender tooth-scraping artichoke leaf. We’re just going with the seasonal flow.

Stuffed Artichokes with Thai Shrimp Salad on

Stuffed Artichokes with Thai Shrimp Salad on

Stuffed Artichokes with Thai Shrimp Salad on

My friend Becky of The Vintage Mixer has again this month gathered a few of us bloggers together to celebrate what’s fresh and seasonal for May, what’s ripe and ready to cook in our kitchen and feed our hungry hankerings.

Besides sharing the list of participating foodies, you’ll find on her blog a downloadable list of seasonal ingredients to put on your shopping list and what to plant in your garden now. Man, that’s a lot of lists.

Come on, join in and tag your Instagrams and tweets with the hashtag #eatseasonal.

This stuffed artichoke recipe is here today because:

1. I have a serious love of artichokes

2. I have a serious love of shrimp in every single size and shape

3. I love every single thing about Thai food

and 4. Because my mom came across this recipe sometime while I was in college and made it for me when I’d come home for the summer.

I seem to recall the original version may have come from Sunset magazine or a Sunset magazine recipe annual. While neither one of us can remember the exact recipe (like mother like daughter), nor can we find the original, the flavors linger in the back of my brain and once artichokes are in season, my cravings call for lighter-style comfort food.

Stuffed Artichokes with Thai Shrimp Salad on

Stuffed Artichokes with Thai Shrimp Salad on

About the recipe:

Artichoke ‘prep’ talk. Artichokes can be little devils with their spiky ended leaves. Bring on a serrated knife and scissors, and snap, we’re in business. They are also totally unpredictable, sometimes cooking up sweet, meaty and tender, and sometimes…simply…not. Get out your poker face because it’s always a gamble and there’s no way to know until the first bite.

Season your bath. For this cooking bath I put flavor in the pot by adding mustard seeds, peppercorns and lemon juice. A good old dash of kosher salt should also never be ignored for optimal seasoning.

Sweet. plump shrimp are key. There’s nothing worse than a skinny, limp salad shrimp to turn one off forever. Purchase yours from a reputable grocer who’s known for good seafood rather than just any old seafood case, and find the biggest, plumpest bay or salad shrimp you can find.

Layer flavor for optimal flavor. Fish sauce. Did I hear you say, “Ew?” Never! Fish sauce is the ultimate umami and can be used in everything from gravies to meatballs to delicate soups. It’s the earthiness and saltiness that binds and flavors this Thai inspired dressing in all the right ways.

Mustard seed. Unless you’re a pickle-er, you may not have them stocked in your spice rack. But I really enjoy the added crunch they add to the shrimped up bites. I add them to the artichoke’s cooking water  so they become tender to the taste. If you’re not a fan, you can certainly skip.

Stuffed Artichokes with Thai Shrimp Salad
Serves: makes 4 artichokes
  • 4 globe artichokes
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 pound salad shrimp (bay shrimp), about 4 cups
  • 6 green onions, about ½ cup, sliced
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 2 limes, juiced, about 3 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Cut the stems off of the artichokes at the base of the globe. To trim the artichokes, use a serrated knife to cut off the top ⅓ of the artichoke leaves. Then, using kitchen scissors, cut off the sharp part of the leaves, about the top quarter of the leaf. Rub lemon juice on the cut part of the artichokes so they don't discolor.
  2. Fill a large stock pot with water and add the artichokes, mustard seed, peppercorns and kosher salt. Boil for about 35-45 minutes or until bottom stem can be pierced easily with a fork and the leaves pull easily from the artichoke. Depending on the size of your artichokes the cooking time will vary.
  3. While the artichokes are cooking, prepare the shrimp salad. Rinse the salad shrimps and pick through for any shells. Place in a medium size bowl and add the green onions and cilantro. Stir to combine. In a small bowl, combine the seasoned rice vinegar, vegetable oil, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and crushed red pepper flakes and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour over the shrimp, stir and refrigerate until the artichokes are done cooking.
  4. Once the artichokes are tender, use tongs to pull from the hot water and place upside down on a platter to drain. The leaves will have some of the mustard and peppercorn seeds stuck in between them, and that's okay.
  5. Using a hand held strainer, reserve the cooked mustard seeds and peppercorns from the cooking water. Discard the peppercorns but add the mustard seeds to the shrimp salad.
  6. Once the artichokes are cool enough to handle, open the middle of the choke and pull out the middle leaves that surround the heart of the artichoke. This will leave some fuzzy parts. Use a spoon to gently dig those out of the heart. Discard the fuzzy parts and the middle leaves.
  7. Serve at room temperature with the shrimp salad spooned into the center of the artichoke. Eat the shrimp with the tender leaves as spoons and dunk the leaves into the extra Thai salad dressing if desired.

What are your favorite ways to eat artichokes? Let me know in the comments below.

My Grilled Artichokes with Garlic Butter is ALWAYS a favorite, and Roasted Artichokes with Chorizo Dressing are incredibly tender thanks to the mini-chokes, and it’s where I’m also featuring 20 more food bloggers’ styling artichoke recipes.

Here’s to chokes, and here’s to all of us taking advantage to #eatseasonal.

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