This is a decidedly grown-up version of that retro party classic, spinach and artichoke dip. Prepping the artichokes takes a bit of work, but it's worth the effort—fresh chokes are worlds above jarred in terms of taste and texture.
To learn more, read "Thistle While You Work."
Artichoke Dip Toasts with Spinach Pesto
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 8 toasts
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 5 minutes
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.