Last spring, my mom visited for over a month to help with the book and one of her tasks was Designated Artichoke Cleaner. I love artichokes, but trimming them is kind of a hassle. Unfortunately, my mom does not live an artichoke cleaning’s distance away.
Last weekend when I brought these artichokes home, I thought about re-assigning this task to Jack (he is the risotto stirrer and the pomegranate seed picker, among other useful things). But I decided to go for it myself, like a big girl, and it really wasn’t so bad. If you’re psyching yourself out of artichokes this spring – don’t! They take a little time, but they’re too good to miss out on.
Because of the artichoke prep, I didn’t want to make a time consuming recipe to go along with them. So I made these simple (yet fancy) avocado toasts topped with scallions, radishes, dill, and pieces of artichoke heart. Say what you will about avocado toast, it’ll always have a piece of my heart.
- 1 lemon
- 4-6 fresh baby artichokes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 4 slices whole-grain bread (*see note)
- ½ small garlic clove
- 1 small avocado
- 1 scallion, diced
- 2 red radishes and/or 1 small watermelon radish, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds, optional
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Fill a medium bowl with water and add the juice of ¼ of the lemon. Slice the rest of the lemon into wedges. Reserve one wedge for later, and add the remaining lemon wedges to the water. Transfer the artichokes to the lemon water as you work. Cut off the top quarter of the artichokes, about 1 inch. Remove and discard the first 3 to 4 layers of dark green outer leaves. Trim the stems to ½ inch, then use a paring knife to peel away the woody part of the stems. Slice the artichokes in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to remove the fuzzy choke from each half. Leave the artichokes in the lemon water until you’re ready to use them.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush a medium baking pan with ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Drain the artichokes and lemons, then add them to the pan with the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Gently toss with your hands to coat evenly. Cover with foil and bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until the leaves are tender and the cut sides are nicely browned.
- Meanwhile, place the bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until toasted. Remove from the oven and rub each piece with the cut side of the garlic clove.
- Slice the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit. While the avocado is still in its shell, slice the flesh of both halves horizontally and vertically into cubes. Use the remaining lemon wedge to squeeze juice on each half and top with a pinch of salt. Scoop the seasoned avocado onto the toasts and mash it with the back of a fork. Top the toasts with the scallions, 1 or 2 artichoke halves, sliced radishes, dill and hemp seeds, if desired. Season to taste with salt and serve with the roasted lemons.