Fried Baby Artichokes

Fried Baby ArtichokesFried Baby Artichokes

We have been hitting up our local farmers market like crazy. If you live in Portland and you don’t go to the PSU Farmers Market on Saturdays, you are seriously missing out. Especially when the weather is beautiful and there is SO MUCH PRODUCE everywhere to be found. It’s really incredible.

Lately, Jonah and I have bought chanterelles, fennel, fiddlehead ferns, rhubarb (so much rhubarb), strawberries, a chicken, radishes, leeks, lamb steaks, sunchokes, spring onions, cheese… the list goes on. There is so much delicious local food to be found, it’s like being in heaven. And these mounds of food and people walking around in sundresses and shorts with bouquets of flowers are all so beautiful.

Anyway, one of my favorite things we’ve found at the market is baby artichokes. Have you ever had fried baby artichokes at a restaurant? It’s a common Italian dish. The leaves get crispy and a little burnt and it’s really yummy. So when we brought these home, we knew we wanted to make that dish. We found a simple recipe on Martha Stewart’s website, and Jonah took over the making of these little guys. We bought 8 of them to cook, but the recipe is obviously variable depending on how many you want to make.

Fried Baby Artichokes

Ingredients

8-12 baby artichokes
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus some for serving
4 cloves garlic (or more, if you want), lightly crushed
lemon for serving

Instructions

Prepare the artichokes by removing the tough outer leaves, cutting off the top third of the , and peeling the tough dark green layer from the stems with a paring knife. I know, it seems like you’re losing a lot of artichoke here, but you’re really just getting rid of all the really tough parts that would make this whole thing harder and far less pleasant to eat.

Pour the oil and 1/2 cup water into a medium sized, deep, heavy pot and add the artichokes and 1/2 tsp of sea salt. Turn the heat on to medium-high, and let them cook, turning them over occasionally (you don’t want them to get burned on one side). Cook them until the water has evaporated and the oil starts to spit, which, trust me, it will. This will take about 8-10 minutes.

When the water has cooked off, add the garlic to the pot and reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pot with a spatter screen or an sieve turned upside down (Nice tip Martha! Sadly our sieve wasn’t big enough for our pot… I’m thinking it’s time to invest in a spatter screen). Continue cooking the artichokes and turning them occasionally, until they’re tender and golden brown all over (should be another ~10 minutes). Now take some tongs and put them upside down (or cut-side down, however you want to think about it) in the pan, pressing them down and wiggling them around to kind of loosen up and separate the leaves. Leave them upside down and let them cook like that for another 5 minutes, until the leaves/edges are dark and crispy. Using your tongs, transfer artichokes and garlic from the pan to a plate covered in paper towels. Put the artichokes cut sides down at first, if you can, so they can drain a little bit.

Sprinkle them with salt, squeeze some lemon over top, and serve!

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