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Springtime Stuffed Artichokes
12 large Artichokes
Juice of 1 lemon, plus 1 cut lemon 
6 tbsp extra virgin Olive Oil
4 scallions, finely chopped, including as much of the upper green top as possible 
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped (about 1 cup) 
1 small carrot, pared, trimmed, and finely chopped (about 1/2 cup) 
1/3 cup Carolina rice 
1 fresh or defrosted frozen cod fillet, from any other white fleshed fish, shredded of finely chopped and bones completely removed 
3/4 cup white wine 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 
1 cup mixed finely chopped fresh herbs: mint leaves, dill, parsley, and wild fennel 
1 tlbs. unsalted butter 
1 tlbs. Flour 
1 cup vegetable broth or stock 
1/2 tsp. saffron threads 
1/2 cup warm water 
1/3 cup fresh orange juice 
Juice of 1 lemon 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1. Clean the artichokes: Fill a large bowl with cold water and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon in it. This is the acidulated water necessary to keep the artichokes from turning brown. 2. Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut off the stem of each artichoke at the base, so that it can stand upright. Lay the artichoke on its side, hold it from the stem end, and cut through at about 1 1/2 inches from the base. Discard all the upper leaves. Using the same knife, and holding the artichoke the same way, trim the crusts off bread. Immediately take a teaspoon and scrape out the hairy choke. Rub the artichoke with the cut lemon and drop the artichoke into the acidulated water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes. 3. Heat a large pot of lightly salted water. When it comes to a rolling boil, add the artichokes and blanch to soften, about 8 minutes. Remove and drain. 4. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and sauté all the vegetables together until soft. Rinse and drain the rice and add to thee vegetables. Turn to coat in the oil. Add the fish. Add the white wine and 3/4 cup water. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat until most of the water has been absorbed by the rice. The mixture should not be completely dry. Remove. Mix in the herbs. 5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil an ovenproof glass or earthenware baking dish large enough to hold all the artichokes. 6. Fill the artichokes with the rice mixture and place in the pan. Add enough water to come about one-third inch up the artichokes. Cover and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the rice is completely cooked and the artichokes tender. 7. In the meantime, make the sauce: Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. When the butter melts and bubbling subsides, add the flour. Stir with wire whisk or a wooden spoon until the flour is smooth and pasty and has turned a light golden color. Pour in the vegetable broth or stock, saffron, water, and citrus juices. Season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium and stir until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of a loose gravy. Remove. To serve, place one or two artichokes on each serving plate and spoon the sauce over and around them.

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