For the Spinach Pesto
1½ cups packed baby spinach
1 cup flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon minced garlic
⅓ cup olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons toasted almonds, finely chopped
For the Artichoke Toasts:
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 medium shallot, very thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 globe artichokes, trimmed and prepped, sliced very thin
2 thyme sprigs
Kosher salt, to taste
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup crème fraîche
Eight ¼-inch slices sourdough bread
1 garlic clove, halved
2 ounces Gruyère, grated (about ½ cup)
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
1. Make the spinach pesto: In a mortar and pestle or small food processor, pound or pulse the spinach, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil until a fairly-smooth paste forms. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and fold in the almonds. Set aside. Makes about ⅓ cup.
2. Make the artichokes: Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the shallots and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, artichokes and thyme, season with salt and cook until the artichokes begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated and the artichokes are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the crème fraîche and Parmesan and season with salt.
3. Using a pastry brush, oil the toasts with the remaining olive oil and place them on a baking sheet and bake until light golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Rub the garlic clove over each warm toast 2 to 3 times. Spoon the artichoke mixture over the toasts and top with the Gruyère. Bake on the center rack of the oven until the cheese melts, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the toasts from the oven and spoon the pesto over the top. Using a microplane, zest the lemon over each toast and serve.