Apparently fried artichokes are a “thing”. Especially here in California.
Right now, they’re at every road side stand stretching from San Francisco down to LA and though I have yet to experience them in all their fried farm stand glory, I took it upon myself to recreate my own somewhat healthier version at home.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, if I were at a farm stand in Monterey right now you better bet your dollar I’d have my face in a big greasy pile of these. I’m not a girl scared of a little fry grease…especially when chicken or anything else is involved for that matter.
Anyway, when I first heard about fried artichokes being a “thing” last week my curiosity was peaked and I had to know more…like did they fry the entire ‘choke or just the hearts? Did you still scrape the leaves with your two front teeth? What sauce was served with such a thing and where could I find one right now, at ten o’clock at night.
Finally, after coming to the conclusion that I was just not going to find myself a fried artichoke close to midnight I grabbed a pen and started writing a recipe for what I thought would be a baked version.
We would have panko breadcrumbs and plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and a simple aioli sauce made from mayo, garlic and lemon juice. I couldn’t wait to try it out!
Turned out, my baked version still came out super crispy…like what I can imagine the “real” fried ones taste like. They’re rather fritter-like, with a cheesy crust revealing the soft and dense artichoke heart inside.
I ate mine alongside a sandwich for lunch, but think they would be perfect served alongside pretty much any entree this season. Heck, I’d eat ‘em on their own any time of day…artichokes are vegetables, right?!
Better than Fried Artichokes with Quick Aioli Dipping Sauce
1 can whole artichoke hearts
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or seasoned Italian breadcrumbs)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
for quick aioli:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
tiny pinch paprika
1/2 lemon, juiced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts then pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, salt and pepper. In another smaller bowl, crack the egg and beat lightly with a fork.
Line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper and give a quick spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Lightly drench each heart in the egg then cover with the breadcrumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. While hearts are baking, prepare the sauce.
Mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic and paprika until smooth. Serve with artichoke hearts.