Here’s a variation on one of our favorite last-minute “ pantry" appetizers, using ripe avocados instead of sour cream . You could add sour cream to this if you want, of course, but we like it just as well without. —AntoniaJames
6-12, depending on what else you've got
1/2 medium bunch Italian parsley, leaves and tender stems
2 medium avocados, nice and ripe, that feel heavy in the hand
Juice of one medium lemon (or more, to taste)
1/2 – 1 teaspoon lemon zest, to taste
1 12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and lightly rinsed
Small handful of other fresh herbs, e.g., marjoram, basil or oregano (optional, but recommended)
Good pinch of salt, plus more if necessary to taste
2 -3 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino Romano or parmesan
Freshly ground pepper
One ear fresh corn, lightly steamed and kernels removed (optional, but nice, and only in season)
Baguette or two, depending on the size, sliced and lightly toasted under the broiler
Wash and thoroughly dry the parsley. Coarsely chop it and then drop it into a food processor. (The work bowl should be completely dry; otherwise the leaves will stick to the sides and won’t chop properly.)
Buzz the parsley leaves and other herb(s), if using, for about ten seconds; then, scrape down the sides.
Add the lemon zest, artichoke hearts, cheese and a pinch of salt. Process by pulsing about ten times, scraping down, and pulsing a few more times. You want chunks of artichoke hearts, but they should be rather small.
If not serving right away, put into a medium mixing bowl and refrigerate until about 15 minutes before serving.
Shortly before serving, halve the avocado, remove the pit and cut 1/2 inch square pieces by scoring the flesh through to the skin, then removing them with a sharp-edged spoon. Mash the avocado thoroughly with a fork. Reserve the avocado pits if not serving immediately.
Add the herb and artichoke heart mixture and stir well.
Taste for salt and correct. Add freshly ground pepper to taste. Stir in the corn kernels, if using.
If serving right away, add the lemon juice and give it a good stir. Taste and add more to taste, if you like. Turn into a serving bowl and put out with toasted baguette slices; or make the crostini yourself, as you please.
If not serving immediately, put the spread into a high sided serving bowl, put the pits into the spread, and drizzle the lemon juice over the top. Cover tightly. Remove the pits and stir in the lemon juice immediately before serving.
When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)