Back when I first moved from Boston to Los Angeles for college, I confess I mostly had the beach and sun on my mind. Little did I know, new love would be found next door, both with the boy living there (now my husband) and for the fresh artichokes to which he introduced me. Eating an entire artichoke just seemed so California....I loved it!
Prior to this, my artichoke eating experience had been limited to marinated hearts from a jar (quite good, I must say). Eating this thorny thistle leaf by leaf, though, scraping a delicate bite off each one and then digging through the choke to the tender, hidden heart was just downright fun and delicious.
Artichokes are beckoning in the market now, another welcome sign of spring. Our favorite way to enjoy artichokes is to steam them and then start dipping in little bowls of melted butter and lemon juice - simple and classic.
This last time, though, I decided to make an umami-rich dip using two ingredients that I could happily eat everyday – avocadoes and anchovies. I blended these with green onions, lemon, garlic and parsley. Bold, creamy and assertive, this is one tasty green dip! It is also quite good dolloped on scrambled eggs or mixed with some baby greens. Toss a couple of those lovely green globe artichokes in your basket, blend up a batch of dip and soon you’ll be savoring a taste of spring.
Artichokes with Avocado-Anchovy Dip
Serves 4 (makes 1 cup of dip)
4 large green globe artichokes
2 ounce tin of anchovies in olive oil
1 bunch green onions, roughly chopped
1 large, ripe avocado, sliced in half and scooped out
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (save a lemon half to rub on the artichokes)
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped
To prepare the artichokes, first cut the stem off to create a stable base. Using scissors, clip the thorny tip off of each leaf. Lay the artichoke on its side and using a knife cut the very top off the artichoke. If preparing ahead, rub with the cut lemon to prevent browning, otherwise you can place the artichoke in a large pan and prepare the remaining ones, adding them to the pan. Food52 has a tutorial on preparing artichokes that is helpful to read, as well.
Fill the pan with about 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. After about 25 minutes of steaming (or sooner if you have smaller artichokes) start testing by pulling on a leaf. If it tugs out easily, the artichokes are done. If not, steam for another 5 minutes and test again. Remove from the heat, drain and set aside at room temperature.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the anchovies and their oil, green onions, avocado, lemon juice, garlic and parsley. Process until smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides a couple of times. Scoop into a serving bowl, place the artichokes on a platter and start dipping. You can make both the artichokes and dip ahead. Let the artichokes sit at room temperature and keep the dip covered in the fridge.