I am one of those people that sees fried baby artichokes on the menu and insists on ordering them. It's a bit of an addiction. But given the paucity of my dining out experiences as of late due to those individuals known as children, I decided to try them at home for the first time.
Keep in mind that I tend to shy away from frying anything at home for obvious reasons, e.g., health and the fact that I always seem to get random oil droplets flying in my face. But Friday I made an exception. I read a variety of recipes on my commute home, but ultimately sort of winged it in my kitchen.
I started by pulling off the tougher outer leaves of the artichokes until I got to softer, slightly yellow ones. If there was any doubt about the softness of a leaf, I pulled it off. I then chopped off both the stem and the top 1/3 to 1/2 inch of pointy leaves and quartered each little artichoke, making sure to remove any purple or fuzzy innards.
I set the artichoke quarters in a bowl of water that had half a lemon squeezed into it. My research informs me that this prevents the artichokes from turning brown.
On a large plate, I then dumped flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder, mixing it together.
In a skillet, I poured 1/2 an inch of olive oil, putting it on high heat. I got it nice and sizzling. After draining them on a paper towel and ensuring all the excess water was out, I dredged the artichokes in the flour mixture. Perhaps a misstep, I added some red pepper flakes and garlic to the olive oil, which quickly became crispy and burnt. It didn't matter though because they ultimately stayed in the oil and didn't go into the dish. But the slight flavor of toasted garlic and red pepper did!
I tossed the dredged artichokes into the pan and cooked them until they were extra crispy. Turning once to ensure each side was crisped. All in all, it took probably 8-10 minutes. I removed them from the oil and let them drain on a paper towel. They then went into a serving dish along with some fresh parsley, half of a lemon squeezed on top and a little extra sea salt and pepper to taste.
Given that my husband and I ate the entire bowl that could have served four, I have a feeling that this will not be my one and only fry-a-baby-artichoke-at-home experience. Nor will it be my one and only post about these fried little treats. Some sort of dip or sauce and some toothpicks could turn these babies into a fun and utterly delectable appetizer. To be continued ...
Pan-Fried Baby Artichokes
Author: Julie du Pont
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Pan-fried baby artichokes with lemon and parsley. An easy appetizer or vegetable side.
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 medium sized bowl filled with water
- 9-10 baby artichokes, stemmed, trimmed and quartered
- 1/2 cup of flower
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- olive oil (enough to fill a skillet with a 1/2 inch)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1-2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Prepare artichokes by pulling off tough outer leaves until you get to softer, slightly yellow ones. Chop off the stem and top 1/2 to 1/3 of stems. Quarter each artichokes.
- Place quartered artichokes in water with 1/2 a lemon squeezed into it.
- Combine flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper on a plate.
- Meanwhile, heat 1/2 inch of olive oil in a skillet on high heat.
- Drain the artichokes and pat dry, removing any excess water.
- Add red pepper flakes and garlic to hot oil. Then immediately dredge artichokes in flour mixture and add to sizzling oil.
- Fry in olive, turning once to ensure the entire artichoke is crispy, approximately 8-10 minutes.
- Remove artichokes with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel.
- Move to a serving dish and sprinkle with parsley, salt and pepper and squeeze half a lemon over top.
Julie du Pont is a Darien resident, mom and lawyer. She blogs about food and entertaining at http://weekendtable.com.