Photograph by Marcus Nilsson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Crispy Artichokes

Amuse-Bouche from Issue 5 – Spring / Summer 2014 – Caravan

Camels traversing the Moroccan desert have been known to halt their lilting stride to nibble on clumps of thistles. Our artichokes, fried twice so they look like they’ve been languishing in the sun, will prompt a similar pause, then brisk devouring. Particularly alongside chickpeas tumbled with North African spices and air-cured meat.

serves 6

  • 2 lemons
  • 16 lime- or lemon-sized baby artichokes
  • about 6 cups canola oil, olive oil, or a combination
  • fine sea salt for sprinkling

  • 1

    Halve 1 lemon and squeeze into bowl of cold water. Cut off the top third of an artichoke. Trim and peel the stem then pull off a few layers of leaves until you reach the pale yellow ones. Wiggle leaves open a bit and press artichoke gently, cut side down, to open more. Put in bowl of lemon water. Trim other artichokes and soak until ready to cook. Drain well on paper towels, stem ends up, before frying.

  • 2

    Heat about 2 inches oil to 240-250°F in a medium saucepan. Fry artichokes in 2 batches until tender, about 10 minutes per batch. (Be sure oil is at temperature before the second batch.) Transfer, stem ends up, to paper towels to drain. Turn oil off and let artichokes cool.

  • 3

    Before serving, reheat oil to 350°F. Fry artichokes again, in batches, until leaves are curled and golden, 30-45 seconds per batch. Drain briefly, stem ends up, on paper towels. Serve sprinkled with sea salt and lemon.