A friend of mine threw some herbs, salt, and garlic together once and sauteed it with some zucchini and it was really delicious, so I've been trying variations on it. If you don't have preserved lemon, regular lemon zest might be fine, if a bit stronger. But really, you should just preserve some lemons. They're great. I just salt-preserved some kumquats...going to try them next! This recipe is great as a side dish or as crudite (maybe with a little cheese or something). Basically, this pesto has been my go-to flavoring when I don't have much else on hand because it goes with just about anything - tofu, veggies, mushrooms, shrimp, whatever, and only takes a minute to whip up. The preserved lemon goes especially well with the artichoke. - solmstea —solmstea
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Solmstea is a creative, fearless cook from Southern California (she scuba dives for lobsters!).
WHAT: A bright, summery take on artichokes.
HOW: Artichoke hearts are diced and sauteed, then tossed with a quick, flavorful pesto.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This dish can be used in an infinite number of ways: as a side dish, on top a crostini, tossed into a salad, on a cheese plate. The lemon and parsley make a bright, fresh pesto that gives the artichokes a little kick. Add the salt to taste -- we used about half as much as recommended by solmstea. —The Editors
4 as a side dish
parsley (I like curly leaf, but flat leaf would probably be fine)
a preserved lemon, just the peel
medium artichokes (get ones with fat, long stems)
Have some acidulated water ready (water with some lemon or vinegar in it) or a fresh lemon. Trim the artichoke of its leaves, the choke, and the tough woody exterior of the stem. Rub the cut areas once in a while with the lemon or dip in the acidulated water.
When the artichoke is trimmed, cut it into small chunks (~1/8 inch dice) and leave in the acidulated water (or mix with lemon juice) while you make the pesto.
Chop together the parsley, garlic, preserved lemon (or lemon zest), and salt. Chopping the salt with the other ingredients makes the chopping less sticky. I like it slightly chunkier than you can get with a food processor, but if you don't have a big, curved chef's knife, then a processor would work fine.
Drain the artichoke pieces and rinse them off if they've got lemon pips stuck to them. In a medium skillet, heat about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Saute the artichoke bits until they are softened and beginning to brown.
Add the pesto, mix thoroughly, and saute for another minute or two until fragrant. The garlic will still be fairly raw and spicy. Can be good with a little crumbled feta or chunks of goat cheese.
I like to cook simply, especially cooking with things I can find (or at the very least, find at the farmers market which, in SoCal, contains every kind of produce on earth!). I like ingredients like lambsquarters, which grow in every alley and once-tilled ditch but are overlooked as weeds. Or I like scuba diving for lobster - lobster you catch with your bare hands just tastes Great! Generally, I don't like overly fussy recipes and tend to just improvise with whatever I have on hand and few meals come out of my kitchen without green garlic, cayenne, orange zest, or either fresh mint or dill.