Artichoke Panzanella

Artichoke Panzanella

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Ingredients

4 artichokes
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
zest of 1 lemon
1 day-old (or older) loaf of rustic artisan-style crusty bread
~1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for artichokes and bread
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar (or a lesser amount of a stronger vinegar)
3/4 cup pitted green olives
1 large bunch arugula, washed and dried
4 oz aged sheep cheese, such as Manchego or Idiazabal, shaved with a vegetable peeler to make nice dramatic shards

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put a large pot of salted water to boil on the stove. Trim the artichokes -- if you haven't done this before, you can find handy tutorials here or here -- and cut into sixths. Toss the hearts in the water, and simmer until the artichokes are just tender (~10 minutes). You can flavor the simmering water with lemon juice, white wine, garlic, peppercorns, etc., but I've never found it makes too much of a difference. When the artichokes are done, drain and toss with the garlic, lemon zest, and ~1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside.

Cut the crust off the bread, and saw into hefty bite-sized cubes. Drizzle with a few tablespoons olive oil, and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the cubes on a baking tray, and place in the preheated oven until crisp and light golden (~10 minutes). Tip from pan into a large bowl.

In a small bowl mix the oil and vinegar with additional salt and pepper, and adjust to your taste. Pour the vinaigrette over the bread cubes, and add the artichoke hearts and olives and toss to combine. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes for the dressing to absorb. Add the arugula and cheese, toss again, and serve.