Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Fried Baby Artichokes with Lemons & Parmesan

Thanksgiving is only celebrated in North America. So for most of the world, it's just not a holiday that resonates or holds any credence. It is, at it's heart, a harvest festival, and a time for giving thanks. (Or, you know, watching American Football) Manufactured or not, it is a day we take to spend with family and eat ourselves silly on very traditional foods. I figure everyone gets that. Any which way, it's here and for the next few days, very much in our faces.

Since not everyone around the world takes part, I'm going to post another cocktail snack that I just cannot get enough of. It's a way to work on your small knife weilding skills and requires a bit caution with frying. All of which is good. Cooking within your comfort zone is always nice, but a little challenge, that results in super delicious food, well, thats a worthwhile endeavor indeed.

Here we have the most adorable of all thistles, the baby artichoke, a tiny version of a Mediterranean favorite. First off, as I have covered (ad naseum, I'm sure) fried is my favorite food group, and second, it is just plain classic and tasty. It has all the same adjectives associated with it that go with pretty much all the recipes I post here. Crispy, salty, piquant, zesty and outrageously mouthwatering. The only thing about this is that it is for sure one of those recipes that takes longer to prep than it does to eat, but is so worth it you won't care. Try it, and enjoy!

24 small artichokes, trimmed
Vegetable oil
1 lemon, sliced as thin as possible
Shaved parmesan cheese

What you are trying to do here is remove the inedible parts of the artichoke. Start by snapping off the outer leaves of the artichoke until you are down to the paler yellow leaves. Cut off the top 1/4 inch, and trim off the lower portion to expose the choke. Cut into quarters and set aside. It does not matter if they turn brown (and they will a little) because they are going to brown when you fry them.

In a medium pan, pour in 1/4 inch oil and heat over medium. It is ready when a teeny-tiny drop of water spritzed into it sizzles. Add the trimmed artichokes in small batches (too many at a time will lower the temperature of the oil and they won't brown properly) cook, turning a few times, until just browned. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a few layers of paper towel.

When the artichokes are done, very, very carefully add the lemon slices. They will splatter like crazy. Be careful! Turn once and remove as soon as there is any browning. Drain on the paper towels with the artichokes. Toss with salt, garnish with a few shavings of parmesan cheese.

Serves four


One hundred percent of all artichokes grown commercially in the United States are grown in California

Queen Creek Olive Mill in Tempe, Arizona offers tours and a press your own oil experience

November is National Peanut Butter Lover's Month

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