While I adore fresh steamed artichokes, I also have a strong fondness for both marinated artichokes, and more economical still, tinned artichokes. Yes tinned; how very Delia of me.
Preserved artichokes of either sort are one of those lux-but-cheap ingredients that always make you feel like you’re in the know somehow (see also: good quality tuna, pickled long green peppers, tinned puy lentils, double-salted French butter, preserved cherries, Tabasco, brown crab meat).
Something about preserved artichokes just says “blend me” to me (in a very soft alto voice), and so I do. I think it’s because they offer lots of bulk with a nice subtle flavour, a bit like the way chickpeas do for hummus. This means that they work equally well with punchy, oily, briny flavours as they do with subtler flavours, like fine herbs.
Enter my Artichoke Dip #2. (Artichoke Dip #1 is here). Unlike Artichoke Dip #1, which is basically a tapenade, this dip is creamy, cool, voluptuous and almost refreshing. It tastes a bit like green goddess dressing, but again, mellower, and in my opinion lovelier.
It could work as a starter if you set out lots of crudités [not as appetising when pronounced ‘crud-ites’, as one of my friends does for a joke], marinated veg and crusty fresh sourdough or hot toast alongside it; alternatively serve with some other salads and maybe some cured or tinned fish for a light meal.
Now to start work on Artichoke Dip #3…
ARTICHOKE DIP #2
1 jar of oil-marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 clove of garlic
2/3 tub crème fraîche (plus more to add if needed)
Glug of good quality olive oil
Zest & juice of half a lemon
Handful of a mix of fresh herbs (flat leaf parsley, dill, chives work well, any combo is fine but try to use at least two; keep some for serving)
1 tsp capers
Dash of Tabasco
Small pinch of salt
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend. Taste. Add any more of the components as required and blend again till you’re happy with the flavour – it should be creamy, flavourful with a little zing. Transfer to a nice flat serving bowl, top with some more herbs, a good drizzle of olive oil and maybe some fennel seeds.