Pan-searing the artichoke halves before braising with lemon and garlic gives them added flavor and color. The halved artichokes are beautiful topped with a sprinkling of fresh Parmesan cheese and served alongside veal, lamb, or chicken.
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Cut off stem of each artichoke to within 1 inch of base; peel stem. Remove bottom leaves and tough outer leaves, leaving tender heart and bottom. Trim tips of leaves to remove thorns. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise. Remove fuzzy thistle from bottom of each half with a spoon. Immediately rub cut surfaces of artichokes with 1 lemon half.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat. Place half of artichoke halves in pan, cut sides down; cook 2 minutes or until cut sides are browned and crusty. Remove from pan; set aside. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining artichoke halves. Arrange all artichoke halves in pan. Squeeze 2 lemon halves over artichokes; add 1/2 cup water and garlic to pan. Cover and bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until a leaf near the center of each artichoke pulls out easily.
4. Place artichokes on a serving platter, cut sides up. Pour any pan juices over artichokes; squeeze remaining lemon half over artichokes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.