Cut off the stem, trim the tips from the leaves and cut off the top quarter of the artichoke. In a large, nonreactive pot bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and add artichokes. Squeeze juice from the lemon halves into water, then add the bay leaves and salt. Cover, reduce heat to simmering and cook until artichokes are tender, and base can be pierced with tip of a knife, about 25 minutes. Drain artichokes. Placing the artichokes on their base, spread apart the outer leaves and carefully remove and discard the center section and fuzzy choke, leaving outer leaves intact.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, herbs and oil; season to taste with salt and pepper. Carefully spread apart leaves of artichoke, leaving them attached. Pack bread crumb mixture into all available spaces. Place on a baking dish and bake 25 minutes or until golden.
Yield: 2 servings