Take one large artichoke, place in pan with about 1 inch of water add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and juice of half a lemon Cover and steam until artichoke is tender.
drain artichoke and spread leaves so that you can get to the center of the artichoke where you will remove the center core of leaves and the fuzz from the artichoke heart
Prepare the croutons: I use ciabatta bread that I cut into one inch sqaures, drizzle with olive oil and bake in a 325 degree oven until they are a light golden brown. This takes about 20 minutes.
In a bowl add the croutons, the cherry tomatoes with any juice from when you cut them in half, the pitted nicoise olives, the basil, the parsely, the fresh garlic. Drizzle with the olive oil to coat all of the above ingredients and add balsamic vinegar to soften the croutons. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Spread the leaves of the artichoke so that you can fill the center with the mixture as well as filling in the open leaves with the mixture. Drizzle the artichoke with more olive oil and a bit more balsamic. My guests enjoy taking an artichoke leaf with some of this tomato, crouton, olive mixture on the leaf and eat in one bite. This is really delicious and an unusual way to serve an artichoke.