k  Roasted Artichoke Pesto  k

k  With pistachios & walnuts  k

I prefer to slow roasted artichokes as I  find it retains their delicate flavour and I like to pop in half a clove of garlic into the cavity (where the fluffy bit has been removed).

Once cooked I scoop out the hearts and blend them, add chopped pistachios, walnuts, a good measure of extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil and some tahini (I suppose it’s like pesto really). Then I scoop back into the skins (because it just looks pretty). It’s seriously delicious as a dip or with pasta or raw courgetti?

A friend asked me about the health benefits so I thought I would share this with you. The Jerusalem artichoke, also known as the “earth apple”, contains a unique form of fibre known as inulin that is an incredible prebiotic. Artichokes are filled with phytonutrients and are ranked even higher in Antioxidants  than dark chocolate, blueberries and red wine! They have demonstrated to be effective at lowering cholesterol and aids Liver Function as they reduce the levels of toxins in the blood – therefore making a perfect hangover cure. They are high in potassium and can lower blood pressure. Now for the final list of loveliness…high levels of vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B-6, B-12, A, E, D, K and also minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, sodium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. Come on what’s stopping you from embracing the artichoke?

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

500g Jerusalem artichokes (approx. 6)
1 lemon
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small bunch of basil
30g pistachios – shelled
30g walnuts
2 tablespoons tahini
Sea salt & black pepper

Optional toasted seeds to decorate

Method

• Preheat the oven to 180oc and line an oven sheet with baking paper. Remove the stalks off the artichokes and cut them in half lengthways. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the cut artichokes to prevent them from turning brown. Using a sharp knife remove the small hairy tufts at the bottom of the hearts. In the cavity add ½ clove of garlic. Sprinkle over sea salt and drizzle liberally with olive oil.
• Roast for 30-45 minutes checking half way through (cover with foil if you find them browning too much).
• While they are cooking bash up the pistachios and walnuts in a pestle and mortar – don’t over crush them!
• When the artichokes are cooked, cover the entire tray with cooking foil and leave for around 5-10 minutes – this traps the steam and will allow you to peel the hearts out of the artichoke more easily. I like to keep the empty skins so I can fill with the pesto mixture (if using as a dip or tapas).
• Now blend the artichoke hearts in a food processor with some of the roasted garlic cloves, tahini and basil leaves until smooth – or mash them with fork if you don’t have one.
• Stir in the crushed pistachios and walnuts. Add more olive oil and lemon juice until you have a consistency you are happy with and season well to taste.
• If you wish, spoon the pesto back into the empty skins…and enjoy!