Artichoke Gratinata

Artichoke Gratinata

I found some baby artichokes at my local supermarket yesterday, most likely the last of the season.  I was hoping to also find some fresh fava beans and peas to make a frittedda – a Sicilian mélange of artichokes, favas, and peas.  No luck on the favas and peas so I decided to make the baby artichokes gratin (gratinata in Italian).  You can also use frozen artichoke hearts for this dish if you can’t find fresh ones.  Trader Joes has the best frozen artichoke hearts.  They’re a staple at my house.

Lately, I’ve been substituting panko for regular breadcrumbs in a few of my recipes because they stay crisp and add crunchiness too.  They are perfect for this gratin.

ARTICOKE GRATINATA
(Caccociuli Gratinati/Carciofi Gratinati)

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:
2 pounds baby artichokes or 2 packages frozen artichoke hearts
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. PREPARE THE ARTICHOKES:  Fill a large saucepan with 2 cups of water. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt and the lemon juice.  Remove the tough outer leaves from the artichokes. Cut-off about 1/2 to 5/8-inch of the tip.  Immediately place them in the pan of lemon water to prevent them from turning brown.

2. COOK THE ARTICHOKES:  Place the pan of water and artichokes on the stove and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook the artichokes for about 12 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork.  If using frozen artichoke hearts, cook according to package directions.  Place the artichokes in a colander and drain the artichokes well.

3. MAKE THE BREAD CRUMB TOPPING:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease the bottom of a baking dish with 2 teaspoons olive oil.  Combine the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl.  Season with pepper.

4. BAKE THE GRATINATA:  Arrange the artichokes along the bottom of the baking dish in a single layer.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top.  Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bread crumbs are browned.

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