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Minty Caper Dressing

August 16, 2010

Canned Artichoke Hearts. Easy, and delicious.

Recipe: Minty Caper Dressing
Total Cooking Time: 10 minutes

I’ve always been intimidated by artichokes. I can’t be the only one: it’s a thistle, for pete’s sake, not a juicy fruit or an easily peeled vegetable. Whoever first figured out how to eat one must have spent months staring at the spiky, layered leaves and devising a plan for making the thing edible. This person was either incredibly determined or incredibly hungry, as after tackling a half dozen artichokes myself to get to the tender heart, I’ve sworn never to do it again. Among other modern conveniences I am incredibly thankful for (washing machines, refrigerators, tampons and telephones and among them), I now add canned artichoke hearts to the list.

This post was going to be about me triumphing over my artichoke intimidation and grilling tender, buttery artichoke hearts on the grill  (cut to an image of me sweating profusely in the kitchen while trying to steam the artichokes first, surrounded by piles of artichoke leaves and swearing as yet another spiky leaf poked into my fingers). After about an hour of effort, I ended up with six shriveled and slightly burned artichokes hearts. So this is not a story of

Minty Caper Dressing

triumph, rather, it is about completely failing but discovering something really amazing along the way. Like Minty Caper Dressing, which was sort of an afterthought but ended up being the star of the meal.

Fresh Mint

Capers

Three distinct flavors – refreshing mint, salty anchovy and tangy capers – come together with olive oil and lemon into a dressing that I find myself craving over and over again this summer. The anchovies shouldn’t be skipped, even if you think you hate anchovies. A little bit of anchovy in dressing is like a secret weapon, something chefs use all the time to add flavor and home cooks shy away from because they think it will make the dressing taste fishy. (It doesn’t) This dressing is surprising, zesty, and will make you crave vegetables just so you have something to put the dressing on (which is much healthier than craving ice cream sandwiches, my pregnancy-related obsession of the week).

I love this Minty Caper Dressing over vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, fennel and yes, even artichoke hearts (bought in a can) that have been roasted in the oven with olive oil. When the veggies come out of the oven after 45 minutes or so, drizzle on the dressing then sprinkle feta cheese on top, and you’ve got a really great side dish. This summer, you could also drizzle the dressing over any veggies you grill.

You can make this easy dressing, “wow” everyone at the table, then get back to enjoying summer. August 16th already…can you believe it?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 17, 2010 6:06 pm

    I’m with you, canned hearts are the way to go. I’ve never enjoyed scraping the leaves with my teeth.

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