Friday, April 12, 2013

Oven Roasted Lemony Baby Artichokes with Spring Shrimp Scampi

I wanted to recreate a stuffed artichoke recipe that I saw in an Italian cookbook I got at the library. I went to my local co-op and realized that it's the season for baby artichokes and their window is very small, so that is exactly what I bought. I love when I have a recipe in mind and I am forced to be even more creative because I see something at the farmer's market or produce section that inspires me! The baby artichokes are tender and can be eaten whole, they are a lot less work than the larger ones and this recipe is absolute heaven!! The tender, slightly tangy artichokes are baked in a bath of garlicky lemon vinaigrette, topped with homemade breadcrumbs and then baked till golden brown, I could have licked the dish when I was finished, it was that good.

Going along with the spring theme, the co-op is also choc full of baby asparagus. The first emerging shoots are tender and sweet and they are my absolute favorite. The flavors of scampi; lemon, garlic, olive oil, go so well with spring vegetables because they enhance their delicate flavors and do not overpower. This whole meal was so incredible and delicious, my husband kept commenting on how fresh it was, he said he could taste each and every component.

Let's talk a little about buying your shrimp. I really like to pay attention to where my seafood comes from. I always buy wild American shrimp from responsible fishermen. My co-op sells large, slightly cranberry colored shrimp that are fished and shipped in NY and they are always fresh and incredibly
delicious. I feel good about buying them and serving them to my family. When you buy shrimp or any other seafood, even if it's frozen, it should smell like the sea; salty and sweet. You can always ask the fishmonger at the store to let you smell the seafood before you buy. Fresh, responsibly sourced seafood is going to be more expensive but if you are buying seasonal veggies, which are always cheapest, and filling your plate with those, you won't need very much of the protein. I only used 10 large shrimp for this recipe and it was a perfect amount for 2 people.

This recipe serves 2 but can easily be doubled to serve more.



10 Baby artichokes, cleaned and set into lemon water, click here for a video on how to prepare your babies.
1 Large, organic lemon, zested & juice reserved, I buy organic citrus if I am using the zest.
2 Organic cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane.
1/4 Cup olive oil
1 Tbsp organic oregano, leaves only, chopped finely.
1 Tbsp organic thyme, leaves only, chopped finely.
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste.
1/3 Cup seasoned bread crumbs, preferably homemade, click the link to get my recipe.
2 tsp olive oil

Shrimp scampi

10 Wild caught, American shrimp, 1/2 pound.
Olive oil, for sauteing.
1/2 Pound asparagus
1 Large, organic tomato
Juice from 1 lemon
1 Tbsp organic oregano, leaves only, chopped finely.
1 Tbsp organic thyme, leaves only, chopped finely.
2 Cloves organic garlic, minced or grated.
6 Leaves organic basil, chopped.
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste.
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese, grated, to finish the dish.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Clean your shrimp, remove shells and cut down the back of the shrimp removing anything black or muddy. Rinse under cold water and place on a clean towel, dry them thoroughly. Set aside.

Cut your cleaned artichokes in half and place in two small baking ramekins or one medium size one.

In a small bowl combine lemon zest, juice, olive oil, herbs, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Whisk till combined and emulsified. Pour over the artichokes, mix well, taking care that all artichokes are well coated. Place all artichokes cut side down in the baking dishes. Mix bread crumbs and olive oil in a another small bowl till it resembles wet sand. Salt and pepper the bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top of the artichokes. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and the artichokes are tender enough to pierce with a butter knife.

While artichokes are baking, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanche asparagus, about 1 minute and remove to a bowl of ice water to stoop the cooking and retain vibrant green color.

In a large frying pan over medium high heat, drizzle in olive oil and cook garlic for one minute. Salt and pepper shrimp and add to pan, cook on each side for 2 minutes till they are seared and just pink. Add in asparagus, tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook for 3 minutes to heat through and combine flavors. Remove from heat, rip the basil leaves and sprinkle over top. Finish with parmesan cheese sprinkled over top.

Serve artichokes in their dishes alongside the shrimp scampi and enjoy a taste of Italian inspired spring!

Let me know what you think! Leave a comment below!

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