Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook by Martha Stewart
For the artichoke leaves:
2 large artichokes (One will probably be enough, but just to be on the safe side, use two)
1 lemon, halved
Rinse the artichokes in cool water. Pull away any discolored outer leaves. Trim the stem to about 1 inch in length. Over high heat, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the water. Add about 1 Tbl salt to the water, along with the artichokes and the halved lemon. Decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer until the artichokes are tender, about 20-30 minutes. (The leaves should pull off easily, and a knife should easily pierce the bottom end of the artichoke.) Drain the artichokes and allow them to cool.
Peel away the leaves, reserving all the firm and pretty ones for serving. Store refrigerated in an air-tight container. Discard all the leaves that are too small or thin to serve as cups. Carefully trim away the hairy choke and tough outer edges, until the artichoke heart is neat and clean. Reserve the heart for the shrimp filling.
For the shrimp filling:
16 large shrimp (31-40 per pound)
1 Tbl vegetable oil
1 Tbl finely grated lemon zest
3 Tbl fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
3 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbl finely diced red onion, soaked in cool water for about 15 minutes, then drained *
2 Tbl finely diced sweet yellow onion
1 artichoke heart, finely diced
1 Tbl chopped fresh oregano, plus 16 large, pretty leaves for garnish
1 Tbl capers, drained
16 firm, pretty artichoke leaves
2 Tbl feta cheese, crumbled into small pieces
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Peel the shells and tails off of the shrimp. Be careful not to rip off the entire tail while you’re removing the shell – An intact tail makes for a much prettier shrimp. De-vein the shrimp (i.e. remove the intestinal tract). Use a paring knife to make a shallow slice along the center of the outer edge of the shrimp. This will expose the dark grey ‘vein’, running along the length of the shrimp. Scrape it out with the knife. (You may not even have to do this. Many times shrimp is already de-veined when you buy it. If it hasn’t been de-veined, the outer edge of the shrimp will be intact, and you’ll see the vein just below the surface.)
Preheat the oven to 500°F. In a small mixing bowl, combine the prepped shrimp with the vegetable oil, and toss to coat. Season with a good pinch of salt and a good few grinds of pepper and toss again. Arrange the shrimp, with plenty of space in between, over a wire rack placed on top of a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast the shrimp until pink, and just cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
To make the marinade: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and lemon juice with a pinch of salt and a couple grinds of pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until well combined. Add the diced red and sweet onion, the diced artichoke heart, the chopped oregano and the capers. Stir to combine.
Arrange the artichoke leaves on a serving platter. Top each with a single roasted shrimp. Spoon about 1/2 tsp of the marinade over each shrimp. Sprinkle crumbled feta over each, then top with a single leaf of oregano.
These can be kept for about 1 hour in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap. Return to room temperature before serving. Serve with a small bowl or cup on the side, to place discarded artichoke leaves.
* Soaking the onions in water takes the pungent edge off, and keeps them from over-powering the rest of the dish.
SERVED AT THIS DINNER PARTY