Prep Time: 30 minutes total
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Keywords: blender saute appetizer gluten-free kosher vegan sugar-free vegetarian artichoke Italian
Ingredients (Serves 6-8 (as appetizer))
- 1 1/4 pounds / 570 g (2-3) artichokes, possibly organic
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml extra-virgin olive oil for cooking the artichokes
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved (green germ removed, if present)
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons / 15-30 ml water
- 1 tablespoon almond butter OR extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans, as topping
Prepare a bowl with about 4 cups / 1 liter of water and the lemon juice.
For each artichoke: Detach and discard 3 rows of leaves, until you see the light green heart at the base. Cut off the stem and peel it to reveal the light green center and cut that into pieces. Toss into the lemony water.
With a paring knife, cut a ribbon around the base where the 3 rows of leaves attached. Cut off the top 1 inch / 2.5 cm of the artichoke and discard that top portion. Place the artichoke cut top down and slice off 1 inch / 2.5 cm all around at an angle (i.e., slice off the top portion of the external 2-3 layers of leaves).
Quarter the artichoke, carve out the hairy center (choke), then quickly cut each quarter into 1/4-inch / 6 mm slices and immediately toss them into the lemony water. Repeat with the other artichokes.
Warm up the olive oil in a 10-inch / 25-cm deep sauté pan or similar skillet, add the garlic and stir. After a minute, drain the artichokes, add them to the pan and stir well. Arrange the artichokes into a single layer, cover and cook on gentle heat until tender (about 40 minutes), stirring every now and then. If needed, add a bit of water, to prevent artichokes from sticking to the pan.
Sprinkle sea salt and fresh parsley on top, stir and remove from the heat. Let cool briefly then transfer the artichokes into a food processor or blender and finely chop the artichokes. Add the remaining olive oil and 1 tablespoon / 15 m of water. Continue processing, stopping at intervals to scrape the side of the bowl.
Add the almond butter or additional olive oil and 1 teaspoon / 5 ml of water and continue processing until you have a spreadable cream. If necessary, add 1 or 2 more teaspoons / 5-10 ml of water to reach a soft, creamy consistency.
Run the spread through a mesh strainer placed over a bowl, pressing on it with a spatula. With a flexible spatula, scrape the surface of the mesh on the side that faces the bowl: that is like artichoke nectar. When there are only dry strings left, discard them and scrape the bottom of the strainer one last time.
Adjust salt as needed, transfer the spread into a serving bowl, sprinkle walnuts on top and serve with toasted bread or crackers. Allowing people to make their own canapés works for a small gathering. For a party, you may want to prepare the artichoke canapés ahead of time and use different types of bread for variety.