When I’ve been to the farmers market lately, I also took some artichokes home with me – not yet knowing how actually to prepare them. Somehow I remembered on my way back home that I had somewhere seen this artichoke pesto with sicilian lemon from PPura. I thought this could be THE idea for a longlasting source of indulgence. So I started to experiment…
When buying the artichokes I succesfully pushed the fact aside that I have close to none experience with preparing artichokes. If I had, I probably would have bought the – much easier to prepare – baby artichokes. This was something I found out, when I read and watched a few (video) tutorials about cleaning and cooking artichokes … It still was some hard work to finally reach the heart of this fractious thistle.
One lesson I learned: it’s not only the artichoke itself that browns very quick if you don’t dip it into a lemon juice-water-solution. Your hands do as well!
When I mixed the cooked artichoke parts, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, garlic and parsley in my blender, it became clear immediately that this wouldn’t be a pesto – it had already reached a creamy texture. Why not! Who cares, if it tastes good!
And it does! Immediately I brought a pot of water to boil, cooked a handful of spaghetti and topped them with a good dollop of the artichoke lemon cream and some freshly grated parmesan. What a pleasure! You have the fine nutty and slightly bitter taste of the artichokes (enhanced by the olive oil) on the one hand, on the other hand a fresh and herby taste of lemon and parsley. There’s also a hint of garlic, but as the cloves are cooked the taste is not too sharp and overwhelming.
It’s equally delicious on toasted bread or as dip for some veggies.
By the way: Did you know that artichokes contain many important nutrients and positively affect digestion? It is also known as a medicinal plant. And – from the department of useless knowledge: In 2003 the artichoke was nominated “Medicinal plant of the year” in Germany.
Artichoke lemon cream (3½ jars a 150 ml)
3 artichokes, 2 organic lemons, 2 cloves garlic, ½ bunch parsley, 150 ml olive oil, roughly 2 teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon pepper
Prepare a bowl of water, adding juice of ½ lemon. Remove sturdy leafs, stem and hairy choke. After each cut of the knife, dip the freshly cut part into the lemon juice water. (Have a look here and here). Bring a pot of water to boil. Add juice of other ½ lemon, the squeezed lemon halves and two garlic cloves. At last, add artichokes and cook for 30 minutes.
Drain cooked artichokes and garlic, remove lemons. Let them cool down and meanwhile zest second lemon, squeeze half of it. Wash and roughly chop parsley. Finally blend artichokes, garlic, olive oil, lemon zest and juice and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Remember that it should be slightly too salty if eaten pure).
Fill into sterilized jars. Be careful to keep lid and edges clean. “Seal” with a layer of olive oil. Keep in the fridge.