Twice Cooked Artichoke Hearts, who knew you had to cook sh!t twice?

I’ve been trying to recreate a crunchy artichoke heart that I had a long time ago for a while now, and through many trials and tribulations, mistakes and frustration I think I’ve gotten it figured out.

The artichoke heart is the often forgotten and discarded center of the artichoke, most people like to chew on the fleshy leaves and the meat at the bottom, maybe dipping it into a butter/garlic sauce.  For this experiment though I dont care about the leaves and am going straight for that heart.

Ingredients

  • Artichokes, Baby Preferably
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Sauce of your choice, Honey Mustard, or a Aioli both work really well.
  • Oil
  • Optional: Lemon Zest/Chopped Onion/Chives for garnish.

I will be putting things in italics throughout this post to descibe how to make the fancier version from the full-head artichoke.

The first time I tried this I used the big artichokes not knowing any better, I quickly thought to myself “Damn this sh!t is expensive, not going to be making this alot”.

Enter the baby artichoke.  At about $2 a pound, these are the cost effective, more reasonable, and much less “fleshy leaf” wasting cousins of the full blown artichoke.

Now then, lets prepare the chokes.

First things first, you want to slice the top of the choke clean off, getting rid of a good amount of those pointy dangerous spikes on top of the leaves.

Rip off the leaves and discard them until you get to some nice light-yellowish leaves.

Next up you want to use a knife to kind of shave the bottom of the choke.

20150826_193637

Leaving you with something like this.

Now you want to  use a knife to cut each one in half, and scrape the fuzzy sh!t out of the middle and remove those tough leaves in the center.

You should end up with some little artichoke halves looking like this.

This picture is a mistake I made my first go around with the larger choke.  With the larger choke you DO NOT WANT to cut the stem off, the stem is part of the heart, try to shave it so it includes it and dont cut it off like I did.  This isnt really possible on baby artichokes, if you’re going for the fancy version using bigger artichokes leave the stem on

20150627_180810

If you look at the makeup of an artichoke what we are after is the heart.  You can see the green outer leaves need to be discarded, the hairy choke part needs to be cut out, and the green “tough” part of the stem needs to be shaved down but you can see how the heart of the choke extends throughout the actual stem.  That white area of the stem is awesome tasting so shave it down but leave it on.

artichoke-heart-james-vicari

There is much talk about soaking the chokes in a lemon/water solution to keep them from browning because they will start to brown almost immediately.  I’ve found it unnecessary as its only a visual thing while cooking, by the time you cook the chokes it no longer matters.

Now then…i’ve tried this many many many ways.

Pan seared.

Battered and fried

Deep Fried

The best?

Steam them first for about 3-5 minutes, then fry them (350-ish) until they get that brown color you’re looking for.

If you prepare the little baby artichokes the leaves will spiral out a bit, dont worry about it.  Serve with some honey mustard and you’re golden.

Honey Mustard

Or if you went the full blown artichoke method, including the stem, serve it with some Aioli with some chopped green onion on top for garnish.   Lemon zest works very well.

20150611_132413