Fried Minted Artichokes – A new addition to the Spring garden

by on April 10, 2011

Every spring, Diane and I go through the annual “What veggies are we going to plant?” ritual.

First the weather starts to warm and we begin to crave more than leafy greens, sugar snap peas, radishes, and carrots.  We’ll hit Home Depot and nearly buy a bunch of boring varieties which we don’t really want but that is all they have because is it too early in the season. We’ll barely hold off on purchasing, then two days later the weather will drop winter cold again and we congratulate ourselves on not buying too early.

Repeat two more times.

Finally we can’t take it anymore and the inevitable excursions to our favorite nurseries and farmers’ markets takes place.  By now the cool stuff is available and we buy twice the amount of varieties of what we originally intended. Mostly tomatoes, bell peppers, chilies, and eggplant.

Good nurseries and growers are dangerous. The 3″ pots costing a mere $2-4 each. We’ll find some of our favorite varieties: tomatoes like the Anna Russian, Kentucky Beefsteak, Sun Golds (which we don’t even need to buy since it always reseeds itself, but we do anyway), chilies like the padron, shishito, a medley of habaneros.

Of course in searching for the favorites, we’ll discover a bunch of new-to-us types and have to get a few of those.  Somehow the bill ends up being $70-$80 of $3 or $4 items by the time we hit the register. Then a couple days later we think of a favorite we forgot to get and head back to the nurseries.

Repeat two more times.

One veggie I always want, but we never buy, is to grow artichokes. They just take up soooo much room and I can’t convince Diane to sacrifice some of her radish or beet soil allocation. I’m not giving up my arugula space either and it is unthinkable to reduce any of the tomatoes or chilies growing room.

But this year we’ve added a couple more raised planters, and I finally badgered Diane enough that she relented one corner to artichokies. Especially after reminding her that she could use the blossoms for styling and table decorations!

The main reason I want to grow the artichokes is for the baby artichokes. I love them.  So cute and tender I could just eat them up.  Wait… I do eat them up. Strip them, then slice, fry, salt, and devour them.  Sounds a little S&M like, but it sure is tasty.

Here’s a recipe for one of our favorite ways to cook up the baby artichokes, Fried Minted Baby Artichokes. Tasty little tidbits we tend to eat much more than we intend to. One note on making them, be very liberal in stripping away the outer leaves.  As a general rule, the darker the color the leaf, then tougher it will be after frying. Usually I’ll strip almost half of the leaves off of store bought baby artichokes.

If you like the crunchy outer leaves feel free to strip a little less.  You can always strip more leaves off after frying if you change your mind. You can also make this with the “adult” artichokes, but you might want to scoop out the choke (the little hairs over the heart.)

We’d love to hear what everyone else is planning for or excited to grow this year. What’s your favorite varieties or what are you trying to make room for. Garden Geeks Unite!

-Todd

crispy crunchy tender baby artichokes

Fried Minted Artichoke Recipe

Yield: Serves 2-3.

Total Time: 15 minutes

Be very liberal in stripping the leaves off of the artichokes when prepping.  The outer leaves will fry up tougher. If you need to, you can always strip more leaves off after frying. Make sure oil is hot before starting to fry, and pull garlic just before it reaches golden brown, as it will become bitter if overcooked.

Ingredients:

  • 12 Baby Artichokes
  • 10 cloves Garlic
  • @ 40 large Mint Leaves, finely sliced
  • 1/2 Lemon, cut into wedges
  • Sea Salt
  • oil for frying

Directions:

Prep the Artichokes

  1. Strip away the outer leaves until they are a very light green (usually about 1/3 -1/2 of the outer leaves). Trim the end of the stem and the top of the artichokes. Slice in half.

Fry

  1. Pour enough oil in a large saute pan to fill 1/4" deep. Heat over med-high heat. When oil is hot, place artichokes cut side down in a single layer (fry in batches if necessary) scatter garlic cloves between the artichokes and add half of the mint.
  2. Fry until garlic and artichokes until lightly golden (about 2-3 minutes) then flip and fry until just done (about another 2 minutes). Make sure to pull garlic out just before being it is fully golden as it will continue to cook a bit more after being removed from oil and will become bitter if overcooked.
  3. Drain on paper towels, squeeze a little lemon juice over artichokes, season with sea salt and toss with remaining mint leaves.  Plate with additional lemon wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kitt April 10, 2011 at 4:52 pm

I always look for baby ‘chokes in California, but it’s usually the wrong season. We never see them in Denver, and I love them so much. I just saute them with butter and eat them straight from the pan.

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2 White on Rice Couple April 10, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Brilliant! So simple and can’t believe we’ve never thought of that. Duh! Usually we’ll make a garlic butter to dip into, but sauteing them up in butter is perfect! Thanks Kitt!

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3 Blog is the New Black April 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm

My boyfriend LOVES ‘chokes- he will die for this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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4 Daedre April 10, 2011 at 5:23 pm

You should just grow your own vegetable seedlings! It isn’t that difficult and it would open up a world of possibilities. Ever paged through a seed catalogue?…you would have hundreds, if not thousands, of tasty options to choose from.

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5 White on Rice Couple April 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm

We do grow seedlings too. We have one whole side section of the garden for propagating. Some things we just prefer to get them already started for us. We only have so much raised space, and anything ground level gets puppy pawed! But seed catalogs are fantastic!
One advantage of local nursery shopping is that good nurseries will get varieties which will usually do well with the local climate, while with seeds catalogs you usually don’t have that specialized info.

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6 Bianca April 10, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Uh *swoon*, not only do I love gardening adventures- I am planning my first ever garden this year; but your photos are so beautiful. Food is so beautiful, sometimes I am at a loss for words!

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7 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) April 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm

These look…amazing! Both the size (baby, so cute!), the flavors, the photos, just…stunning!

I admit that I love fresh foods, almost never buy anything frozen, but I will say that TJ’s frozen artichoke hearts save my life. No salt, no oil, just the chokes. But your post inspires me to use fresh again, despite the work :)

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8 Dani Greer April 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I’m not much of an artichoke fan which tells you I’ve never had really good ones, doesn’t it? Anything with mint is okay in my book though!

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9 Alyson April 10, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Mmm. Artichokes. I swear, they’re probably one of my favourite foods of all time.

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10 Michelle April 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm

I always dedicate half my space to greens. Sturdy kale, rainbow chard, and collards rule supreme in the PNW climate. That crispy crunchy minted artichoke looks delectable!

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11 White on Rice Couple April 10, 2011 at 7:13 pm

We love our greens too! Winter and spring we have all we could desire, but come summer we are envy supreme of your PNW gardens!

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12 Katie | GoodLife Eats April 10, 2011 at 7:29 pm

We planted an artichoke plant last year but the wind kept stripping the leaves off. It came back this spring, so we’ll see what happens! They are one of my favorites that we don’t eat nearly often enough so I’m crossing my fingers. This recipe looks amazing!

Some of the asparagus didn’t completely come back this year, which is a bummer because this was the first year it would be strong enough and big enough to harvest. Rhubarb is gigantic already and arugula is going strong. I missed the window to plant peas from seeds. Our strawberries are gone :( because it got so hot too early last summer that it fried them. Not warm enough for tomatoes and things like that yet. It was 32 this morning today!

We had planned to just do a small garden this year since we’d be moving this summer, but now we aren’t moving so we will see! I planted too much last summer and combined with the unusually long, hot summer I was not very motivated to take care of it so I will probably cut back this year.

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13 Kiran April 10, 2011 at 8:17 pm

I’ve yet to taste artichoke. Your beautiful photography has me drooling and can’t wait to get my hands on this yummyness :)

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14 Deanna April 10, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I just Peruvian Blueberries. Technically, they’re a guava plant, but I’m obsessed with the nursery that is at the Leukadia farmers market.

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15 Koek! April 11, 2011 at 3:11 am

OMG. I think I just had an orgasm from that photo!

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16 Phoo-d April 11, 2011 at 6:43 am

My dad grew artichokes in my childhood garden one year. I still remember how much better they are than anything you can buy at a store!

I can’t wait for our first big heirloom Gold Medal variety tomato. They weigh 1-2 lbs each and we eat them raw all summer with a little flaky sea salt and a sprinkle of pepper. This year I’m growing shiso leaves for the first time and can’t wait to munch on those too!

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17 norma April 11, 2011 at 7:26 am

What a great post and beautiful pictures. I can eat artichokes every day. I must try your version.

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18 d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo April 11, 2011 at 7:47 am

Artichokes are my favorite thing ever. I stuffed peppers with artichokes last week and it was amazing. These look unreal. I’ve never cut down my own hearts like this – but you make it look pretty simple!

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19 penny de los santos April 11, 2011 at 7:54 am

Beautiful images!

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20 Cookin' Canuck April 11, 2011 at 7:54 am

If being a garden geek means harvesting gorgeous artichokes like these, then count me in. We are still covered in snow, but we can hear our raised planters begging to be filled.

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21 Liz the Chef April 11, 2011 at 8:10 am

LOL – sounds like the way I garden here in San Diego! Lovely recipe…

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22 Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather April 11, 2011 at 8:27 am

The great thing about artichokes is that they come back for a few years. Or at least they’re supposed to. Mine has yet to make it back :)

Sounds like you two create an amazing garden. It’s so hard to pass up all the varieties.

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23 katealtmix April 11, 2011 at 8:48 am

we’re trying our first chokes this year too! i just transplanted two ‘Purple of Romagna’ seedlings into our back bed. they aren’t looking too strong and i know i’m pushing it a little here in zone 7 but we’re crossing our fingers.

artichokes are the only veggie that we buy no matter the exorbitant price they’re asking at the farmer’s market- because we’re obsessed. we usually pick the medium-sized ones and steam them for a bit. then cut them in half, rub with lemon & olive oil, sprinkle with salt (and sometimes paprika) and then grill cut side down. and then devour.

thank goodness there’s a choke in the fridge or i’d be on my way to the grocery store after reading this amazing post and drooling over your beautiful photographs! as it is, i think i know what’s for lunch! :)

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24 White on Rice Couple April 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Your the one who has us drooling! Lemon, salt, paprika, and grilling the halves… Another brilliant idea!
It been so cute seeing you guys post about your gardening this year. Combined with your stunning photography as always!

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25 Donna A. April 11, 2011 at 9:28 am

Ah yes, table decorations! I’ll never forget the site of giant dried artichoke’s nestled with votive candles on top of each bistro table in the old town centre of Bruges, Belgium. It made such an impression on me that I had to replicate it for my own table. Whenever I see big artichokes – gotta dry em…but for the babies – gotta fry em!

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26 White on Rice Couple April 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

Donna- wow, what design inspiration, thank you! will have to start drying some artichokes now.

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27 Charles G Thompson April 11, 2011 at 9:35 am

Fried baby artichokes are a favorite dish (reminds me of Rome!) Congrats on doing your first planting.

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28 Melanie from Brave the Kitchen April 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I love California artichokes! These look incredible. I can’t wait to give them a try.

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29 Rosie April 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Those artichokes look great!
I have super limited garden space (with plenty of sunshine). Any tips on what I should plant?

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30 White on Rice Couple April 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm

We always start with what we like to eat, then figure out what we are able to grow. Our local nurseries are our best resource for figuring out the answer to the latter. No sense in growing a bunch of stuff you aren’t going to eat regularly!

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31 Allison April 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I go through the same planting ritual! I have to hold myself back from buying up all the first vegetable plants at the gardening store, but I know I should wait till it gets a little warmer. Those stores are seriously dangerous though! I always end up leaving with plants I didn’t plan on getting. I can’t help it, I’m addicted to buying plants!

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32 terri April 11, 2011 at 2:35 pm

i’m jealous of your weather. we live in a fog belt (in the sf bay area), and as our local nursery likes to joke, “it’s a great place to grow vegetables–if you want to grow lettuce.” the only variety of tomatoes i’ve been able to successfully grow in the fog are the sun golds (i grow them in large pots). btw, you’re probably better off buying your sun golds every year (as you do). they’re hybrids, so there’s no guarantee that the seeds will produce plants similar to the parent plants.

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33 White on Rice Couple April 11, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Great point Terri! It’s easy to forget those little details about plant genealogy.

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34 Rootaki April 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm

This recipe looks delicious- I will have to give it a try, thanks!

One of my must-haves for the garden is Casper Eggplant – it has the most amazing flavor. And this year I am adding in two artichokes (one green, one purple), rhubarb, and asparagus! The garden has been growing and I’ve finally made room for these perennial spacehogs.

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35 Maria April 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm

The artichokes look incredible!

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36 Julia April 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm

This spring I have added more territory to my vegetable garden and I am hoping at last to grow eggplants. Every year for the past three years I’ve planted eggplants too close to something else (just trying to squeeze them in) and then I discover them in September hunkered down under some gigantic vine (last year it was the nasturtiums that got them). This year they get a row of their own, in the sun! My other priority is to add more rhubarb and to feed/water it better!

I love your blog–both words and photos–and look forward very much to reading more!

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37 Karen @offthemeathook April 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm

With every post I read, I bookmark one more recipe. And with every one of your photos, I get more and more excited for the Boulder photo workshop this summer! I only wish it were happening, like, tomorrow! :)

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38 White on Rice Couple April 12, 2011 at 11:30 am

Karen- look forward to seeing you in August!!!

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39 Roberta April 12, 2011 at 9:54 am

Hi there, such a beautiful post and photos!
I love artichokes and I like to eat them raw since they are so delicious! Here in Italy we have wonderful varieties but I’ve never tried to plant and grow them yet…
I’ve got just a courtyard not very sunny either, but still, I do my best with pots, moving them around the courtyard as sun moves on its journey from dawn to dust..what a task, uh?
Last weekend I planted tomatoes and cucumber and some fine herbs of course, marjoram, sage and persil…I’ll let you know how it’s getting on…
Have a nice week!

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40 Maris (In Good Taste) April 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm

You have an amazing garden. So lucky to be able to grow what you eat. This recipe looks fabulous!

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41 Shaina April 12, 2011 at 9:37 pm

If I could grow artichokes in Minnesota, I would. I love them, and they are one of my kids’ favorites. My 4-year-old begs me to buy and grill them almost weekly. I’ve never tried them fried, though. I’ll have to give it a whirl once those California ‘chokes make their way here.

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42 Cathy/ShowFoodChef April 12, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Ahhh, the fried artichokes remind me of Italy…. and I just today went to Home Depot and did that exact same thing. Walked around with a couple small pots of mediocre tomato plants until I convinced myself I didn’t even want these and it was too early for a good selection. I have just a little, long dog run of a garden beside my house, but have it sectioned off with bricks and I usually plant salsa fixings and bruschetta fixings of roma, pear tomatoes, jalapeno, basil and lemon cukes. This year I’m trying the peas and beans to grow up the poles because the sun hits the wall so well in the afternoon. Wish me luck :D We’ll see how it goes/grows :D Sending hugs to you both ~

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43 Jess Bair April 13, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Hey guys–OMG that looks deeeelish! I’m growing 4 artichoke plants of my own (didn’t pay attention to the guy when he said at full grown the plants are 5′x5′–doh!) in So Cal (Culver City). Half of my globes are nice and tight and closed and the other half are opening as they grow, I think that’s not good but I really don’t know. What I’ve found is that in the partially open ones there are tons of earwigs–aaargh! I’m starting to find earwig damage all over my garden, do you guys have any of these little boogers? How does one combat them? Everything I google tells me how to trap them, but with the millions of them out there that doesn’t seem like a good option…

On a side note, after your spread in Sunset I went out and got myself a Yuzu tree, can’t wait til it fruits!! Thanks for you site-it’s so lovely on so many levels!

jess

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44 Snippets of Thyme April 13, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Beautiful photos. I love artichokes but have no clue how to grow them. I did, however, find this incredible farmer’s market here in Houston that had what I had been searching for! Fava beans.

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45 betty April 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm

As a member of the garden geek club here in the PNW, I am going to plant watermelon radish this spring so I can pickle them. I love eggplants…the long purple ones and I have seedlings already growing. Another member of our garden geek club (an old Italian gardener friend) gave me tomato seedlings he calls Banana and he motioned to me they are the huge, loooong paste tomatoes. I am lucky enough to have a friend who grows artichokes. She has them at the side of their houses (2 houses back to back).

In the front yard, I will make room for a pink blueberry bush called Pink Lemonade. I know it will give me enough pink berries to put in a pitcher of Pink Lemonade in the summer…

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46 marla {family fresh cooking} April 16, 2011 at 5:16 am

S&M and artichokes were something I had never put together in one sentence. Nice!
Love the mint-choke combo. Garden Geek? Wish I could say that was my thing. I am a major GG in the sense that I can’t keep anything alive longer than it takes to hit the soil. xo

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47 Candela April 18, 2011 at 6:21 am

Hello Todd & Diane,
Sorry if I’m out of the topic…I’ve been having troubles with many links ,almost a week now, Is it something that’s happening to me ,or to anyone else ? :( I miss your recipes,photos,words…BIG HUG from Italy.

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48 Thor Thorson April 19, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Came across the recipe by accident (I had just purchased a good amount of small artichokes) – simple, fast, and utterly delicious! Now I will read the blog and other recipes. Takk, hvit ris par!

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49 Kristen April 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm

I think this is one of my favorite set of pictures yet (which is saying a lot since I love all of your work!)
And, I’m beyond excited to try this recipe!

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50 barbara April 20, 2011 at 8:09 pm

I’d never have thought to fry them. I need to try that. I once grew artichokes in my front garden. Went out one morning and they were all gone. Someone came during the night and stole the lot. They had obviously planned it as the tops were neatly chopped off with a knife.

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51 Stacy April 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm

WOW this sound amazing!!! Saw baby ‘chockes at the farmer market couple weeks ago but didn’t know what to do with them. Now I can’t wait for Saturday to go, buy some and try this.
Thanks

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52 Jill Brown April 21, 2011 at 8:02 pm

I’ve always wondered the best way to try artichokes and now I know. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I may also look at growing some for myself if I can’t find the nice baby ones you described. Thanks for this great recipe idea.

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53 Steve Carlson April 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm

This is awesome. I”m lucky enough to have a healthy crop growing of both artichokes and mint, so I cut down some of each, and fried them up. I’ve tried a lot of ways to cook artichokes, and I think this is the best. Of course — they’re fried!!!

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54 Nicole Franzen April 28, 2011 at 6:45 pm

LOVE fried artichokes! one of my favorites. A few times cooking artichokes I have had similar problems with bitterness. I have researched and found out that they could of one, not been cooked long enough or cooked to much. Or that they weren’t super fresh. Any ideas? I love chokes and it makes me sad that I had to experience a really bitter one! boo

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55 Kelly Linzey May 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I was wondering if you could dry fry these? I grew up eating artichokes but have never had a baby one before. Are the hairs you see on the heart of the adult a problem on the baby ones?

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56 White on Rice Couple May 9, 2011 at 10:06 pm

That is the beautiful part of the small chokes, the hairs are harmless. You don’t even know they are there. I am now curious about dry frying them too. If you try it let us know. Next time we get some baby artichokes, or if ours ever start to put out, then this is the next experiment! Thanks for sharing the idea!

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