Life is so much easier if there are a couple of cans of artichoke hearts in the cupboard. Isn’t it?
If I have them, I know I can come up with something tasty for dinner. And no matter what it is, I feel like it’s just a little bit fancy. Sophisticated. Cultured.
Yes, even if it’s really just scrambled eggs and it looks like . . . well, never mind what it looks like. It is still fancy. Sophisticated. Cultured. And delicious.
I’ll put artichoke hearts on pizza or in salads, bake them up in dips, toss them with pasta, sprinkle them on ice cream . . . just kidding. I wouldn’t do that.
But really, I like them best when they are the main event. When it’s not “such and such with artichoke hearts” but it is, simply, artichoke hearts. Which is one reason I like this side dish. Another is because it’s really easy to prepare. And another is because, when served with Thanksgiving dinner, it lightens things up a notch with its lemony tang. Take a bite and suddenly you’ll have more room for dessert.
Okay, maybe not. But it will feel like you have more room for dessert, and that is the important thing. Or possibly it will make you feel like you don’t even need any dessert at all. Even better. Of course, now that Thanksgiving is over and we’re all on a diet for the rest of the year, maybe it is a moot point anyway. Or maybe it just means you should have a couple of cans of artichokes on hand at all times in case the urge to have sugar cookies for dinner strikes again. Because baked artichoke hearts are quicker than sugar cookies. And more sophisticated. And more cultured, too.
Rose’s Baked Artichoke Hearts adapted from Martha Stewart
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (I find that panko bread crumbs work well in a pinch)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh curly leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon mixed dried herbs, such as thyme, oregano, and basil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
3 14.5 ounce cans artichoke hearts, drained OR 3 9 ounce packages frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dishes
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice from 2 lemons
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, minced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine breadcrumbs, parsley, cheeses, herbs, and salt in a medium bowl, and season with pepper. Brush oil inside two 9-inch pie plates or one 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Divide artichoke hearts between dishes, and spread into a single layer. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over artichokes, pushing it into cracks between hearts. Tap bottom of dishes on counter to settle breadcrumb mixture.
Whisk oil, lemon juice and zest, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle dressing evenly over breadcrumb topping. Cover dishes with and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover, and bake until breadcrumbs are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes more. Serve immediately.