March marks the start of the peak season for artichokes and there's a fresh flavor to this recipe for cooking them with lemon and onion.
The artichoke gratin is featured in Country Home magazine's March issue, among suggestions for Easter menus. The recipe lists frozen or canned artichokes, but food writer Jennifer Irsfeld includes instructions for using fresh baby artichokes:
"Trim stems from 8 baby artichokes; cut off leaf tops where green meets yellow. Remove outer leaves, leaving pale inner petals. Halve and cook, covered, in a large amount of boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender."
Lemony Artichoke and Onion Gratin
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, cut into ¼-inch slices
Two 9-ounce packages frozen artichoke hearts, or two 15-ounce cans artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1 cup dry white wine or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons snipped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Generously butter a 1½-quart au gratin dish.
In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, stirring occasionally, until beginning to caramelize, 5 to 10 minutes. Add artichokes, garlic and lemon peel and cook 1 minute. Add wine, parsley and herbes de Provence; bring to boil. Reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
To make the topping: In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs and the cheeses. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over the crumb mixture; toss until bread crumbs have absorbed all the oil. Season to taste with more pepper; set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Transfer the artichoke mixture to the prepared dish. Sprinkle with topping. Bake in a 350 F oven 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is golden. Serve warm.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
(Recipe reprinted with permission from "Gratins: Savory and Sweet Recipes from Oven to Table" by Tina Salter, 2004, Ten Speed Press)