A girlfriend of mine loves these fried artichokes so much that I don’t dare speak about them if I’m not prepared to run right over and make them for her! She adores the artichoke as much as I do. How could you not love this gorgeous thistle that makes you labor through protective leaves to reach its soft heart? Thinly sliced, fried artichokes and lemons make one bold tapa!
Makes 2-4 servings
1 large artichoke
6 slices lemon, very thin slices (less than ¼ inch thickness)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Cut 1/4th of an inch off the bottom of the artichoke stem and peel off the outer skin of the remaining part of the stem with a paring knife. Pull back each leaf until you hear it snap and then peel downward. Continue removing leaves this way until you reach the softer inner light green leaves. Slice the artichoke in half. With a paring knife, remove the “choke” which is the pinchy purple leaves and the hairy part. Slice the artichoke thinly and evenly, about ¼ inch slices.
Add olive oil to a large saute pan and let it get hot. Toss in the artichokes and mix with tongs to allow the olive oil to coat the artichoke slices. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and cook, turning pieces frequently until all are golden brown. Transfer all the artichoke to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Grab a saucepot lid or splatter screen and immediately place the lemon slices in the saute pan, protecting yourself from the initial spurting of oil. Brown lemon slices on each side and transfer to the plate with your artichokes. Sprinkle a bit of extra salt on top, a few turns of pepper and serve.