The saying goes that spring showers bring forth the flowers, and the last time we checked, this seemed to still be true. The artichoke is technically a flower bud that has not yet bloomed, so it’s a perfect way to add a little bit of the tantalizing season to your plate. This sauce can easily be doubled or tripled and is great tossed with a bowl of pasta.
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1⁄4 cup raw (skin-on) almonds
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
- 1⁄2 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 pound baby artichokes
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- Prep Time: 10m
- Cook Time: 15m
Preheat the broiler with the rack 4 inches from the heat source.
In a small saucepan of boiling water, cook the garlic for 2 minutes to blanch. Drain.
Cut the pepper vertically into flat panels. Place the panels, skin-side up, on a broiler pan and broil for 10 minutes, or until the skin is blackened. Transfer the peppers to a plate, skin-side down. When cool enough to handle, peel. Transfer to a food processor and add the blanched garlic, almonds, olive oil, water, tomato paste, smoked paprika, salt, and 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice, and puree.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice to a large bowl of cold water (this is “acidulated water”). Snap off the dark outer leaves of the artichokes until you’re down to paler green leaves. Trim the very bottom of the stem and, with a paring knife, remove the outer layer of the stem. Cut about ½ inch off the tips of the artichoke leaves. Halve the artichokes lengthwise and place in the bowl of acidulated water to prevent them from discoloring.
In a deep saucepan, pour in the vegetable oil to come up 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350º F on a deep-frying thermometer. (Alternatively, if you don’t have a thermometer, drop a little flour into the oil; if it sizzles, the oil is ready.)
Lift the artichokes from the water and dry on the paper towels. Working in batches, deep-fry the artichokes for 8-10 minutes, or until crispy. Drain on paper towels and serve the sauce on the side for dipping.
This recipe can be found in the Spring chapter of our Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook.