This salty and slightly sweet anchovy parsley pesto is stuffed inside an artichoke for a boost of flavor, as well as offering a great gluten free, dairy free dipping sauce.
I'll never forget my time traipsing through the artichoke fields of Baroda Farms. Artichokes grew taller than me. There were all sorts of colors, flavors, sizes and smells. While I haven't had an opportunity to go back, the farmer's market has been selling some whopper sized artichokes and they just scream to be stuffed (don't your vegetables scream to you too?). I wanted to create some stuffing that would be gluten free and dairy free, but still full of flavor, so I decided on an anchovy parsley pesto stuffed artichoke.
I have been eating my share of anchovies lately. I'm much more of a savory gal, than sweet, so it doesn't get much better than anchovies for me. I love all of the saltiness. It doesn't hurt that anchovies are full of protein, iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium, as well as a whole lot of Vitamins like C, B-12, B-6, A, E and K. They also contain important omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Just watch the sodium levels when purchasing them as the salt levels can shoot up depending on the processing.
The anchovy parsley pesto comes together in minutes so the hardest work you'll have to do with this recipe is the artichoke cleaning. It can be challenging to get in the middle to pull out the hairs for a clean base. It helps to start with a large artichoke and if you can't sweep everything out before you steam it, then wait until it's warmed a bit and it'll be much easier then.
I can eat this stuffed artichoke as is for a complete meal, but it also makes a great side for dinner or a party when entertaining. It has a pretty presentation and I always think it's fun to eat with your hands, so dig in and don't be afraid to get your hands dirty!
Anchovy Parsley Pesto Stuffed Artichoke
Makes 2 stuffed artichokes
- 2 medium to large fresh artichokes
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, stems removed
- 1 tablespoon anchovies, minced
- 2 tablespoons (divided 1 + 1) fresh lemon juice
- 1 large garlic clove
- Cut the top 1/4 off the artichokes and trim the sharp edges of the leaves with a pair of scissors. Pull the smaller leaves in the middle out and take a spoon and dig out the hair in the middle. You'll need some elbow grease to remove it all. You can also wait to remove the final bits until after you steam them. Place 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice on the ends in the middle of the artichoke to prevent any browning.
- Fill a large stock pot with enough water to cover the bottom 1/3 of the artichoke (if you don't have a steamer basket). Bring the water to a bowl and then add the artichokes face down (cut side down) directly in the pot or in a steamer basket. Steam until nearly soft - about 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and then remove any remaining hairs in the middle.
- While the artichokes cook, make the pesto by combining the pine nuts, anchovies, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor. Pulse to combine, but don't over-process to a smooth liquid.
- Place the pesto in the cavity of the artichoke, as well as in between some of the leaves. Put the stuffed artichokes side by side in a glass pyrex with a small amount of water in the bottom and bake until the pesto is warm and the artichoke is cooked through - about 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and eat immediately by pulling the artichoke leaves off and dipping them into the pesto. When the leaves are gone, be sure to enjoy the remaining heart after cleaning the excess trimmings.