This dish makes an excellent hors d’oeuvre.
Combine the elements of the court bouillon, bring to a boil, and leave to simmer, covered, while turning the artichoke bottoms, rubbing each with lemon the moment it is turned. Add the bottoms and the garlic cloves to the court bouillon and simmer, covered, until the former are just tender, but still slightly firm (usually about 15 minutes, but the time may, depending on the age and initial tenderness, vary from 10 to 30 or 40 minutes). Remove the six handsomest specimens, put them aside on a plate to cool, and leave the two others to cook another 10 minutes or so until very tender. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a sieve, collecting the court bouillon in another saucepan, bring it back to a boil, add the rice, and cook, covered, at a simmer for about 40 minutes or until very soft. Drain well in a sieve.
Remove all the chokes, gently prying them loose with a teaspoon, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins, and purée the two well-cooked bottoms, the rice, and the garlic together through a stainless steel sieve (they may, first, be put rapidly through the coarse blade of a food mill—once cooked and not permitted to remain in contact with the metal, the artichokes will not be altered). Work the purée, using a wooden spoon, to a fine, firm, creamy consistency, adding the olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper, and, a little at a time, the lemon juice until seasoned to your taste. Stuff the bottoms with this mixture, mounding it neatly with an inverted tablespoon; serve cold, but not chilled (fragments of pimento, stewed tomato, chopped parsley, or black olive may lend a decorative note).
Copyright © 1974 by Richard Olney. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.