Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Artichokes with Avocado-Anchovy Dip


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.

26 comments:

  1. Artichokes are definitely one of the most California foods ever! When I was little we had a bush growing in our backyard, so they're actually one of the first vegetables I remember eating. So bizarre if you live anywhere else! I usually eat my artichokes with vinaigrette nowadays--but this dip sounds like a great way to punch it up!

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    1. I'm envious of your artichoke bush, Eileen! What a marvelous veggie to start enjoying at a young age. The flowers must have been beautiful, too (I remember the first time I saw artichoke flowers at the farmer's market - stunning!). I hope you are enjoying spring!

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  2. I love the story how you met your husband. :) I love artichokes and I especially love your avocado anchovy dip! We're big avocado fan and can't wait to make this. Never thought of adding anchovies - such a great idea!!

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    1. Thank you, Nami! Yes, I was very happy to meet the boy next door... :) I hope you enjoy the dip!

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  3. I can see so many uses for that amazing dip!! I haven't picked up any artichokes yet this season but I have been eyeing them - this may have pushed me over the edge!

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    1. The artichokes we've eaten so far this season have been great, Alyssa! I saved a couple of the hearts and added them to a veggie platter later...so good. I just love all the green popping up everywhere now. Such a pleasure seeing you yesterday! xx

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  4. Wow - I love this idea. We are traditionalists when it comes to artichokes and nearly always use butter and lemon, but this is an inspired idea (of course I expect no less from you) and I love the photos, as usual.

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    1. Oh, Beth, you always make me smile! Thank you for your kind words. Pancakes are still on my mind after reading about your lovely Sunday mornings...I'll be stirring some up soon. xx

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  5. I love artichokes! And this is their season! I'm so excited - I'm trying as many recipes a I can while they're of great quality and relatively inexpensive. This one looks like a real winner - thanks so much!

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    1. Thank you, John! It is a pleasure to enjoy artichokes at their best. I want to pick up some baby ones this weekend - I haven't cooked with them much and am looking forward to it.

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  6. Great dip - a wonderful variation from the usual aioli!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lynda! I do love aioli, though...I'll have to steam some more artichokes soon. :)

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  7. Oh, I do really love this recipe. I had my first artichoke two years ago, and I dipped it in a lemon cream sauce. I'm so happy to see another great dip recipe for artichokes; I've been fretting that my lemon cream standby wasn't going to cut it for the third year in a row. This combinations sounds mouthwatering. I cannot wait to try it. Now I just have to wait for the good artichokes to finally make it to my grocery store...

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    1. Thank you, Brianne! Mm,your lemon cream sauce sounds tempting...what do you put in it? I hope you enjoy this dip, and that artichokes arrive for you soon!

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  8. Love artichokes and they are wonderful with some sort of dipping sauce. I have to get over my notion that I dislike anchovies. I call it a notion because I abhor anything with a strong fishy taste and I imagine anchovies to be very fishy. I go to the grocer and pick up a tin and just can't bring myself to buy them, stupid right??? I bet this is really delicious and not fishy at all. I have to go shopping on Friday I will throw caution to the wind and buy them and give this a try.

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    1. I understand your anchovy hesitation, Suzanne. If they are too overpowering then that's not pleasant or tasty. Perhaps if you start with small amounts - maybe use half the amount for the dip? It's not a fishy dip, lots of flavors going on and the anchovies add more depth of flavor here. And you could definitely leave them out and have a wonderful avocado dip! I hope you enjoy it - let me know how it turns out. :)

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    1. I hope you enjoy the dip, Pat! I'm happy you stopped by.

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  10. Genius!! Love the combo of avocado and anchovies. Bet it's so delish!

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    1. Thank you, Kiran! It is a tasty dip - you can't go wrong when combining avocado and anchovies. Like I said, I could eat them everyday. :)

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  11. I just bought artichokes today...love your recipe.

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    1. Thank you so much, Karen! I hope you enjoy lots of good artichokes this season. They are always such a delicious treat, and a fun appetizer to serve.

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  12. I'm very jealous. Unfortunately, artichokes are not often available here, and when they are the price is usually outrageous (up to $4 each!!), so it's mostly bottled ones for me. Hoping there will still be some fresh ones around when I visit California in a few months time. On the other hand, avocado and anchovies are very readily available, so I can easily make that heavenly dip.

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    1. Oh, I do hope you can indulge in some fresh artichokes when you visit California, Sue! I'm happy you can make the dip, though, and hope you enjoy it. :)

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  13. I would never have thought to marry avocados with anchovies, artichokes I eat often boiled with whole lemons and enjoyed as is, this is a whole new twist!

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    1. Boiling artichokes with whole lemons sounds marvelous, Orly! I'll have to try that. Avocados and anchovies pair well - lots of rich flavors and healthy fats together. I hope you enjoy it if you give the dip a try!

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