Cuisine Corner: Artichoke Bottoms with Shrimp, Lemon Butter & Herbed Breadcrumbs

Serves six as a first course; 
Serves two as main course.
For some odd reason, I have always loved artichokes.  I go to restaurants, and any dish that contains artichokes seems to entice me.  While browsing through recipes, I found this one, Artichoke Bottoms with Shrimp, Lemon Butter & Herbed Breadcrumbs.  It not only satisfied my taste for artichokes, but it also fulfilled my love for shrimp...Enjoy!

For the breadcrumbs
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups coarse day-old breadcrumbs

For the artichokes and shrimp
Kosher salt
6 large artichokes, trimmed down to bottoms
3/4 lb. medium (51 to 60 per lb.) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp. cayenne
Freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
Make the breadcrumbs
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. 
Add the parsley, thyme, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. 
Add the breadcrumbs and increase the heat to medium high. 
Cook, stirring, until the breadcrumbs are golden-brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. 
Immediately transfer to a bowl lined with paper towels. (The crumbs may be made up to 1 day ahead; cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature.)

Prepare the artichokes and shrimp
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.

In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil over high heat. 
Add 2 Tbs. salt, drop the artichokes in, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. 
Remove from the water with a slotted spoon. Spread out on a clean cloth to cool and dry.

Heat a 10- to 11-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat. 
In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, the cayenne, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. 
Working in two batches, sear the shrimp in the hot pan, turning once, until lightly browned on the edges and opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes per side. 
Transfer each batch of shrimp to a medium bowl.

In a small saucepan, gently melt the butter over low heat. 
When the butter is just starting to foam, add 2 Tbs. of the chopped parsley.
Let the parsley sizzle in the butter for 1 or 2 minutes and then whisk in the lemon juice. 
Add the butter mixture to the bowl with the shrimp and toss.

Oil an 8x10-inch baking dish with the remaining 1/2 Tbs. oil and arrange the artichoke bottoms stem side down in the dish. 
Season with salt and pepper. Pile 5 to 6 shrimp in the center of each artichoke bottom, including some but not all of the butter. 
Top with the breadcrumbs and drizzle the remaining butter and the shrimp juices over the top. 
Sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbs. parsley and bake until heated through, about 10 minutes. 
Serve immediately.

photo: Scott Phillips; From Fine Cooking 104, pp. 75; March 4, 2010
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