I suffer from appetizer anxiety.
Common side effects include: memory loss and the inability to create.
My ham + cheese puff pastry temporarily solved this problem but please, don’t rely on me for the pre-party nibbles. Too much pressure. Plus, what if I’m late to the gathering? I have kids! I’m always late. Everything will be ruined because me and the dip are lagging behind.
About that dip…
Who knew an abandoned dinner recipe would lead to instant appetizer success!
The original plan was to make vegetable risotto.
I braved the crazed holiday shoppers to pick up the ingredients and scored these babies at the market. I love artichokes. Unfortunately, I rarely make them. The prep work, especially when cleaning the hearts, is a huge pain. My eyes glaze over just thinking about it. There’s way too much pulling, peeling, and hair removal involved (like a beauty treatment).
But the little ones are different.
Did you know the inside is edible? Even the choke. That means less work for you!
So… the risotto never happened.
Instead, the baby artichokes were roasted to crispy perfection.
I tossed them with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a cast iron skillet for about 25 minutes. Then I made the vinaigrette. Rather than whisk the ingredients together I used a blender to emulsify. The processing power makes it thick. Like a dip. It’s much better this way for dunking because it won’t separate.
We almost drank that vinaigrette too, by the way. Good thing I made extra.
I’d eat this any day for a easy, healthy appetizer. Be gone crudités!
- Artichokes have a natural ombre effect. The outer leaves are dark green and become lighter in color as you peel them away. The texture also changes from tough to papery thin. The secret is to stop peeling when you have removed about 3/4’s of the leaves revealing the light green, almost white center. That’s the sweet spot. If you do this properly your artichokes will get nice and crispy. Otherwise, they’ll be tough and chewy. Peel more than you think.
- This recipe makes more than enough vinaigrette. Save some for salads and roasted vegetables.
- 4–5 baby artichokes
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt + pepper
Black pepper-lemon vinaigrette
- zest of 1 lemon
- 6 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, about 2 lemons
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1/4 garlic clove
- 1 heaped tablespoon of Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
- 3/4 c. olive oil
- salt + pepper
* This recipe makes more than enough vinaigrette. Save some for salads and roasted vegetables.
- Preheat your oven to 425 F.
- To prep the artichokes, trim the bottom stem about 1/4-inch. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the stem (like a carrot) to remove any thick, fibrous strands.
- Next, remove most of the outer green leaves. Keep peeling until you have reached the light green center (you will remove about 3/4’s of the artichoke). The texture of the leaves will be papery thin.
- Using a sharp knife, cut off 1/3 of the pointy top.
- Slice the artichokes in half lengthwise.
- In a large bowl add the artichoke halves, olive oil, garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Toss well.
- Transfer to an iron skillet placing the artichokes cut-side down.
- Bake in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes, checking after 15 minutes to ensure even browning.
- Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Add the first 5 ingredients to a blender. With the machine running, slowly stream in the olive oil to emulsify. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a small bowl.
- Remove the the artichokes from the oven.
- Arrange onto a serving platter or serve directly in the skillet. Enjoy warm, with vinaigrette on the side for dunking.