Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Simple Cooking: Pan Fried Baby Artichokes Recipe

Lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper.

None of this fancy sauce reduction bullshit. No cream. No whisks. No elaborate spices.

Pan-fried baby artichokes are legit. They'll make you look like a professional and they're balls easy to cook.  Three steps: Prep. Boil. Fry. The biggest difficulty you'll have is finding them at the grocery story and then convincing yourself to buy them.

Although, they do look like scary little mother fuckers.... Don't feed them after midnight
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Lemon (cut in half)
  • 10-12 Baby Artichokes (Baby artichokes NOT the bigger, "regular" ones)
Like most things on this site you can modify this recipe and improvise. Add heat (cayenne) Or Mint. Instead of "Prep, boil, fry," try "Prep, grill" or "Prep, fry." Add small pieces of bacon. Top it with Parmesan cheese. Do whatever.

1. Prep: Clean, shuck, and slice
The first time I tried baby artichokes, I didn't listen to the instructions about peeling off *all* of the dark, thick leaves. I was greedy. I thought that leaving more leaves meant more of the artichoke to eat.

Nope. Mistake. Tough spiky leaves aren't that tasty... And instead of having more to eat, I had less, like, um, zero.
  1. Peel off the outer green leaves until you get to the softer yellow leaves inside
  2. Take a serrated knife and cut off a half inch from the top and trim the bottom stalk so it doesn't look like a dead Christmas tree trunk
  3. Slice them in half lengthwise

I peeled the center one too much, the right one was perfect
Capped and sliced. Ready for boiling

2. Boil
The goal here is to cook the artichokes just enough and therefore allowing you to easily crisp them in a frying pan.
  1. Fill a small pot with water, salt the water, and squeeze half a lemon into the pot
  2. Bring to a boil, throw in the artichokes, and reduce the heat to a light boil
  3. Cook for about 3-4 minutes (until just tender but have some resistance against a knife)
  4. Once tender, remove from the liquid and place on a plate. Lightly pat with a paper towel (not necessary but it helps fry them better)
Um...disregard the breaded smelts
3. Fry
  1. Heat a few splashes of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high.
  2. If you want, you can throw in a few pieces of finely chopped garlic, let the garlic cook for about a minute (until you can start smelling the garlic) (not a required step)
  3. Add the artichokes to the skillet and fry them until they get crispy. (Roughly 3-4 minutes or until they're nicely browned)
  4. Once crispy, remove, add some salt and pepper, and serve with the other lemon half

Getting crispy. As you guessed, its not an exact science
These were much better than my breaded and fried smelts*....
*I have a habit of buying new shit at the grocery store and trying to cook it. That night, it was smelts. It was my first time buying smelts. I've since decided that I don't like smelts.


  1. I just bought baby artichokes a few days ago after years of missing them in the markets. I lost the recipe an equal number of years ago and am happy to have found yours. In fact, I’m getting my knife out now to prepare it.

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  2. Person after my own heart. No one know about these and it's my absolute favorite dish.

  3. Delicious and healthy. I'm going to the grocery now and buy more artichokes.

    Cath Brookes
    The Best Brick Tiles


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