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Oven-Braised Artichokes With Potatoes And Onions

Virgin Territory - Oven-Braised Artichokes
Oven-Braised Artichokes. Excerpted from VIRGIN TERRITORY, © 2015 by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Artichokes in North America—at least in the part of North America where I live—are usually so hideously expensive that I can’t imagine buying them except for very special occasions. For the price of a single artichoke at Whole Foods, I can buy a dozen at any Italian street market, and they are almost always much fresher and tastier too. So I look for recipes that let these crown jewels of the vegetable kingdom be extended, and potatoes and onions are excellent for that purpose. If you can’t find small artichokes, use just four of the giant ones from California.


  • 8 small yellow-fleshed potatoes (yellow Finns are fine)
  • 8 small, very firm artichokes
  • 1 lemon, for preparing the artichokes, plus 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus lemon wedges, for serving
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh herbs (chives, thyme, flat-leaf parsley)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

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  1. PEEL the potatoes and slice into approximately ¼ inch slices. Toss the potatoes into a bowl of water as you finish to keep them from darkening.
  2. PREPARE the artichokes, rubbing the cut surfaces with half a lemon and using the other half to acidulate a bowl of water. Cut the artichokes into quarters (or smaller if they are very large) and remove their center chokes if necessary. Toss in the bowl of acidulated water as you finish each one.
  3. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F.
  4. DRAIN the potatoes and artichokes and combine in a bowl with the onion slices and the garlic. Add salt and pepper, the minced herbs of your choosing, the bay leaves, broken in half, and 1/3 cup of the oil. Toss to mix everything well and coat the vegetables with olive oil. Spread the mixture in a gratin dish (one that is safe to use on the stovetop) in which they will just fi t without a great deal of overlap.
  5. SET the gratin dish over medium heat and, when the oil starts to sizzle, add the lemon juice and boiling water to come about halfway up the sides of the dish. Trickle the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over the top. Cover the dish securely with aluminum foil and carefully transfer to the oven. Roast for about 30 minutes, then remove the foil and spoon some of the juices over the vegetables. Raise the heat to 400°F and return the gratin dish to the oven, uncovered. Cook until most of the liquid has boiled away and the vegetables are sizzling in the oil, about 15 minutes longer.
  6. SERVE immediately, with lemon wedges to squeeze on top.

Excerpted from VIRGIN TERRITORY: EXPLORING THE WORLD OF OLIVE OIL © 2015 by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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