Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Future files: Artichoke hearts, fried

Quite a rare thing happened the other day: I had leftover FRESH artichoke hearts in the house. By rare I mean it's never happened before. Usually what happens is that I scarf the whole thing--leaves, heart and all--in one fell swoop. That's just how I roll.

 But the other night I had a four-pack of small artichokes from Costco that were languishing in the back of the fridge and I thought, finally, I'll roast 'em up (since discovering the flavor of roasted artichokes, I don't think I'm ever going back). I made it through quite a few leaves but was slowing down as I approached the hearts and in rare (again: never) fit of sensibility, I thought I'd tuck them away for a future lunch or dinner and figure out something spectacular to do with them. (If this whole paragraph seems really "I" centric, it's because artichokes are a solo experience around here. Weird looks from the boys, no takers here. Just didn't want you thinking I actually KEEP the artichokes from them.)

The tucking away happened. The spectacular, not so much. I did my usual Google search and came up with plenty of things to do to jarred or canned artichoke hearts... not really what I was looking for. So I just ate them. Yep. Just like that. And they were good, don't get me wrong. But. Take. A. Look. At. These. Babies. Yeah. That's what I'm talkin' about. Tick tock, the future's coming...

Artichoke Hearts from food52
2 globe artichokes, preferable with some stalk.
1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg, beaten
1 cup dry bread crumbs

Prepare the artichokes: Peel all the leaves off the choke. Peel the stalk and with a paring knife neatly trim the bottom where you removed the leaves.

Cut the trimmed artichokes in half vertically and with a spoon remove the hairy choke. Be careful when cutting in half to evenly cut the stem, too.

Rub immediately with lemon juice so the artichoke doesn't get brown (which happens very quickly!). Steam the hearts until tender. Time will vary depending on the size of the hearts (about 15 minutes).

Dip each artichoke half into the egg and then into the bread crumbs. Fry in the olive oil over medium heat until golden. Set on paper towels to absorb the oil.

Creamy Cumin-Lime Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
Finely grated zest of a lime
Juice of a lime

Mix all the ingredients together, adding salt to taste. Serve the golden hearts warm with the creamy dipping sauce.

I'm still a little freaked that this recipe came along about 24 hours after I needed it--it's like the internet knew what I was looking for and sent it to me! Maybe it couldn't quite anticipate my needs, but still, that's pretty quick, don't you think? And I think it won't be very long until I find myself with some hearts on my hands, too!


  1. OK, now you got me going...don't you think that it may be good to cook them first and then clean them down to the heart and slice the heart then? Like, maybe a little undercooked. I can just imagine them to be easier to handle. This could be something good!!!!!! Yum, yum, yum.

  2. Another good reason to pre-cook the aritchoke would be to get the good stuff off the butts of the leaves...I couldn't bear to lose any value here, you know that!

  3. Wow! You have me going now! I can hardly wait for this one! It is no secret that I do not go to the grocery store without first checking out the aritchokes. This year has been a great year for good sized, big hearted babies. So your recipe is one that I am anxious to taste! Bring it on sweethearts!


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