Servings: six as a first course; two as main course.
These stuffed artichoke bottoms are impressive appetizers but also make an elegant main course for two.
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 8×10-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.
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