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Need something fun and fail-safe? Think artichokes

Roasted artichokes with lemon garlic breadcrumbs Maya Evoy, Alaska from Scratch

I’m just going to come right out and admit that I’ve had a few recipe failures in my time. I’m trying new recipes and experimenting with new ideas all the time -- sometimes they work and sometimes they… well… don’t. There were the trendy roasted and smashed red potatoes that, rather than smashing into beautiful individual portions, exploded all over the pan and countertop. Apparently I have a wrongly shaped variety of potato masher for that recipe. Who knew? Fail.

And don’t even get me started on the unconventional peach cobbler recipe I attempted. Disaster. Quelle nightmare (a la "You’ve Got Mail"). The cobbler sloshed its way out of the oven in a big, gloppy mess. Why couldn’t I just leave well enough alone and go with a classic recipe that I know works like a dream? Fail again.

Needless to say, I was badly in need of a kitchen victory -- an easy-breezy, uncomplicated success. Artichokes. They have never failed me. Here’s what you want to do: grab a large, sharp knife and trim the tops and stems off your big, fat artichokes. Spread apart the leaves a bit with your fingers. Squeeze half a lemon over your choke and rub the lemon over the top and sides. Then, mix up some bread crumbs with seasonings, sprinkle it all over the top of your artichoke and encourage it down between the leaves. Drizzle the chokes generously with good extra-virgin olive oil and wrap them all up in foil, then roast until tender. 

Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh parsley. Serve with lemon wedges (and melted butter and/or mayonnaise if you desire). Devour with your fingers, licking them as you go. Watch all your recipe failures drift away as distant memories.

Roasted Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Breadcrumbs

  • 2 large artichokes, stems and ends trimmed
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup good extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh parsley, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Ready a sheet pan and two sheets of aluminum foil (large enough to cover each artichoke entirely).
  2. Place each artichoke on a sheet of foil. Spread the leaves of the chokes apart with your fingers. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over each choke, rubbing the top and sides of the choke with the lemon.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, lemon zest, garlic, salt, pepper and red chili flakes. Sprinkle half of the bread crumb mixture onto each artichoke, being sure to get some of the mixture down into the leaves. Drizzle the breadcrumbs generously with olive oil (about 1/4 cup of oil for each choke).
  4. Wrap the artichokes in the foil, being sure they are completely sealed. Place the foil packets onto the baking sheet and place the sheet pan into the oven. Bake for 75-90 minutes or until artichokes are tender and the breadcrumbs are browned and crisp on top. Serve promptly with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and sea salt on top and lemon wedges on the side. Eat with your fingers.

Note:
Cooking time will vary according to the size of your artichokes. Smaller artichokes might only require 60 minutes, while larger artichokes will require 75-90 minutes. Mine were jumbo.