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Gratin of Potatoes and Artichokes with Lemon

3 cloves garlic, peeled

 1 T salt

 5 c. whipping cream or half and half

 4 t. freshly grated lemon zest

 1/4 c. lemon juice

 1 1/2 t. black pepper

 3 T. melted butter

 3 14oz cans artichoke hearts, drained

6 lbs russet potatoes, peeled (12 large)

 1 c. unseasoned dry bread crumbs or 2 c. fresh bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On a cutting board, coarsely chop garlic. Sprinkle the salt over the top and mash garlic with a puree with the flat of a large knife. Scrape the garlic and salt into a large bowl and add cream or half and half, lemon zest, lemon juice and pepper, whisk to combine. Brush the sides and bottom of a large 6-quart baking dish or 2 9x13 baking dishes with 1 T. butter. Firmly squeeze each artichoke to press out all the liquid. Slice lengthwise. Cut potatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices. Arrange 1/3 potato slices in an even layer over the bottom of the baking dish or dishes. Top with 1/2 of the artichokes. Repeat the layers, then top with the final 1/3 of the potatoes. Whisk the cream mixture again, then pour it evenly over the potatoes. Press down firmly on the potatoes to submerge them as much as possible. Combine the remaining 2 T of butter with the breadcrumbs; sprinkle the mixture over the top. Bake until the cream is mostly absorbed and bubbling thickly and the gratin is golden on top, about 1 1/2 hours.

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