ROASTED SPRING VEGETABLES WITH SALSA VERDE (artichokes, asparagus, carrots, fennel and leeks, for six)

1 lemon, halved

12 baby artichokes

nonstick olive oil spray

2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed, each cut lengthwise into 8 wedges

6 slender leeks (white and pale green parts only), root ends trimmed, each leek cut lengthwise in half

18 thick asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed

12 very slender small carrots, peeled

12 cremini mushrooms, stemmed, halved  if large

olive oil

salsa verde


1.  Squeeze juice from lemon halves into large bowl; add lemon halves.  Fill bowl with water.  Trim stem of 1 artichoke.  Starting at base, bend leaves back and snap off where leaves break naturally, continuing until all tough outer leaves have been removed.  Using a small, sharp knife, trim outside of base until smooth and no dark green areas remain.  Cut artichoke lengthwise in half.  Using tip of knife, remove any purple-tipped leaves from center.  Add artichoke to lemon water.  Repeat with remaining artichokes.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Drain artichokes, add to boiling water and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  (Can be made 1 day ahead.  Cover and chill).

2.  Preheat oven to 375*.  Spray 3 large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray.  Arrange artichoke halves, fennel and leeks in a single layer in 2 prepared sheets.  Arrange asparagus, carrots and mushrooms in single layer on third sheet.  Brush vegetables with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast vegetables until tender, turning over halfway through, about 35 minutes total for artichokes, fennel and leeks and 20 minutes for asparagus, carrots, and mushrooms.

3.  Divide vegetables among 6 plates.  Drizzle with salsa verde and serve.

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