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Potatoes Layered with Artichokes and Breadcrumbs

This image courtesy of Sarah Remington

In this traditional side dish, thinly sliced artichokes and potatoes are layered with well-seasoned breadcrumbs and baked until the vegetables are tender and the breadcrumbs crusty. The vegetables settle into a “cake” that you can slice neatly and serve with lamb, pork, chicken, or practically any meat. Calabrians prepare many vegetables by this method, including tomatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini-alone or in combination. I sometimes treat fennel this way, too, although the fennel, if sliced thinly, does not need to be cooked first. Take care to make the potato slices equally thin so they will cook evenly. A mandoline or other vegetable slicer makes this job easier.

NotesFresh Breadcrumbs:

Use a dense, day-old French or Italian country-style loaf containing only flour, water, yeast, and salt (no fat, sugar, honey, or herbs). Do not remove the crusts. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and process them in a blender, filling it no more than halfway, or in a food processor until they are as fine as possible. Freeze in a plastic freezer bag for up to a month. 

Cooking Methodbaking

CostModerate

Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Recipe Courseside dish

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Mealdinner

Type of Dishcasserole, gratin

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (900 grams) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch (3 millimeters) thick
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus 1 lemon half
  • 10 small artichokes, 2 to 3 ounces (60 to 90 grams) each
  • 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (80 grams) firmly packed fresh breadcrumbs (see Notes)
  • ½ cup (50 grams) grated pecorino cheese
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Instructions

  1. Put the potato slices in a bowl with cold water to cover. Fill another bowl with cold water and add the juice of the lemon. To prepare the artichokes, pull off and discard the tough green outer leaves until you reach the pale, tender leaves. Remove each artichoke stem and trim the base to remove all trace of green, then cut off the top ½ inch (12 millimeters) of the artichoke. Rub the artichoke all over with the lemon half. Cut each artichoke in half and slice lengthwise ¼ inch (6 millimeters) thick. Immediately put the sliced artichokes in the lemon water to prevent browning.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 10-inch (25-centimeter) skillet over moderate heat. Drain the artichokes and add them to the skillet along with ½ cup (125 milliliters) water and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the water has evaporated and the artichokes are tender, about 10 minutes. Season the artichokes with salt and pepper.

  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

  4. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, and garlic. Mix well.

  5. Lightly oil the bottom and sides of a 9- by 13-inch (23- by 33-centimeter) baking dish. Without draining the potatoes, use your hands to lift out about one-third of the slices and arrange them in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping them slightly. (The water clinging to them will generate steam as they bake.) Season with ½ teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Sprinkle the potatoes evenly with ¼ cup of the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Top the potatoes and crumbs with one-half of the artichokes, spreading them evenly. Sprinkle the artichokes with ¼ cup of the breadcrumb mixture and 1 tablespoon oil. Repeat this layering process once more, ending with a top layer of potatoes, salt, and pepper, the remaining breadcrumb mixture, and a final drizzle of 2 tablespoons oil.

  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the potatoes are fully cooked and the top is golden brown, about 20 minutes longer. If necessary, broil the surface briefly to brown it. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. The tortiera is as good warm as it is hot.

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This worked nicely with frozen artichokes (cooked per package directions) so I did not need the extra oil or lemon, and with Japanese "panko" breadcrumbs (soft type). I also used less oil than called for in the recipe and it turned out fine. Will make this again.

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