Welcome to Steamy Kitchen!

Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Fried Baby Artichokes

Fried Baby Artichokes

There would only be 2 good reasons why I would move back to California. Well…truthfully, there probably are 4,098 reasons why I LOVED living in California, but only 2 of those reasons are valid at 1:15 a.m. when I’m absolutely craving something munchy, something savory, something a little crisp, something that goes great with a nice, cold beer. Fried Baby Artichokes is one of those reasons. (I’ll write the other reason, Killer Cajun Shrimp, in another post)

In San Francisco, I would frequent a Spanish Tapas restaurant called Esperpento, where they had a dish called Alcachofas a la Plancha – which translates to “an artichoke dish that gives you midnight cravings that Godiva chocolate cannot even cure.”

Well, as of today, I now only have 1 good reason left to move back to California (sorry Mr. Arnold Schwarzen-gold-digger) because I’ve just re-created that dish even better than I remember it to taste!

Artichokes are in season now until end of May – the baby artichokes are so tender and sweet. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about the vicious choke stabbing at your throat – the baby artichoke is almost all edible. Just snap away the outer leaves until you reach the light, pale colored leaves. The choke is actually very soft and fuzzy – totally edible.

Ok, a correction- according to the bible, McGee’s On Food and Cooking, the little artichokes are not babies at all. They are fully grown adult artichokes that are grown close to the ground and not on the main stalk. Therefore, they grow slowwwwlllllyy and their chokes do not develop. But what the heck, I like the sound of “Baby Artichokes” much better than “Malnourished Under-Achieving Chokes.”

I pan fry them in olive oil and garlic until the leaves are charred little wisps that gave a nice, satisfying crunch. Please try these while your supermarket or farmer’s market has them fresh!

How to clean and prepare baby artichokes:

Have your bowl with lemon/water ready. Snap off the outer layers of the leaves until you get to smooth, light pale green leaves.

Baby Artichokes

With sharp paring knife again, peel the dark green layer off the stem. Also cut off the top 1″ of the artichoke.

Cut Baby Artichokes

Now, with top of the artichoke facing down against the cutting board, cut the artichoke into thin 1/4″ slices. Place slices in lemon water. Repeat with remaining artichokes.

Baby Artichokes


Fried Baby Artichokes

Servings: 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:

The artichokes should be no larger than 3" wide. Any bigger than that I wouldn't consider them babies - I'd probably call them big mamma runts with pokey chokey chokes.

Important Note - if you don't cook the artichokes long enough, they will taste bitter. So make sure that you only have 1 layer of artichokes in the pan at a time. Make sure that you cook them through. The best way to judge? Snag a piece and taste! They should be tender at the heart, and charred-crisp at the edge.


18 baby artichokes, see above for how to prep them
1 lemon, halved & squeezed into a large glass bowl with water
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil to fry
kosher salt & pepper
a nice squeezin' of a lemon half to finish off the dish


In a large skillet, put enough olive oil to at least cover the bottom of the pan. Let the olive oil heat up over medium-high heat. When hot, add the garlic and fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add only enough artichoke slices to make 1 layer in the pan (you may have to do this in a couple of batches). You don't want to overcrowd the pan, otherwise the artichokes will steam, not fry.

Fry the artichokes until the edges are a little charred and crispy, about 5 minutes, flipping over once. Repeat with remaining.

Top with a sprinkling of kosher salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

Here are other great dishes to go with your Fried Baby Artichokes:

Tropical Island Salmon

Baby Back Ribs with Asian Orange-Ginger Glaze

The Best Roast Chicken

31 Responses to “Fried Baby Artichokes”

  1. tigerfish — 4/7/07 @ 10:19 pm

    I have not tried cooking artichoke before. This looks great!
    Thanks for visiting my food site :)

  2. cindy — 4/8/07 @ 10:24 am

    hi jaden, i found you on matt’s site. your baby ‘choke recipe looks completely different from mine, but totally delicious too! mine is a battered and fried version. (ah, sooo healthy! hee, hee!) i’ll be visiting again, your recipes sound great!

  3. Susan — 4/8/07 @ 5:06 pm


    I just bought baby artichokes a few days ago after years of missing them in the markets. I lost the recipe an equal number of years ago and am happy to have found yours. In fact, I’m getting my knife out now to prepare it as a side to a non-traditional Easter shrimp entree. Thanks for posting this. The timing was just right. It looks scrumptious.

  4. Susan — 4/8/07 @ 7:51 pm

    It WAS scrumptious. I forgot how easy the tender babies are to prepare. I was also impressed that no matter how dark the garlic got, it wasn’t bitter. I fried up some lightly crumbed wild gulf shrimp in the leftover garlicky oil. I hardly have room for cheesecake. Have to have SOME tradition. : )

  5. Jaden — 4/8/07 @ 8:31 pm

    Hi Susan,

    Thanks for trying the recipe! I’m glad you enjoyed it for Easter supper. I’m thinking maybe next time I’ll fry it with some Pancetta to give the dish a nice smoky flavor.

  6. Jaden — 4/8/07 @ 8:32 pm

    Cindy- anything battered and fried is good!

  7. Andre — 4/12/07 @ 2:37 pm


    Saw this posted on slashfood. I’d like to try this recipe with the addition of some Serrano ham to give it a spanish twist. Any advice?


    – Andre

  8. Jaden — 4/12/07 @ 2:47 pm

    Hi Andre-
    oooohhh….Serrrano ham! Have your deli slice paper thin. Then when you get home, slice the ham further into thin strips. Separate the strips apart and fry the ham and the artichoke together. You’ll get beautiful, crispy Serrano “chips” and their smoky flavors with the fried baby artichokes.

  9. floretbroccoli — 4/12/07 @ 3:49 pm

    A local restaurant used to serve a similar dish. The oil was flavored with coriander before the frying. And at the end, they shaved a little parmesan over the artichokes. The whole thing was finished with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro. Delicious.

  10. Grant — 4/12/07 @ 5:42 pm

    Wow, those look fantastic. I would probably dash in a bit
    of hot chili oil. (But I put tabasco in my cereal.)
    Great site- great recipe!

  11. Mamassage — 4/14/07 @ 12:35 am

    These look fantastic. I might have to run out to the store right now in search of baby artichokes. Thank you so much!

  12. Jaden — 4/14/07 @ 6:24 am

    Grant- red pepper flakes would be great in the dish too!

    Floret- that sounds so good I might have to try it like that.

  13. Mary — 4/14/07 @ 7:27 pm

    Hi Jaden,
    What a coincidence! My huband and I ate at Esperpento yesterday for the first time and know it certainly won’t be the last!
    We did not have the fried artichokes, (had the potatoes with the fabulous garlic mayonaisse) but will the next time we go, but until then I will attempt to make these from your recipe.
    Trader Joe’s has baby artichokes right now, so I’ll have to give them a try.
    Thanks for your recipe,
    Mary in Daly City

  14. SteamyKitchen — 4/15/07 @ 12:07 am

    Hey Mary,
    I love so many things on their menu. Try the huge grilled shrimp next time. I think they were head-on grilled shrimp called Gambas a la Plancha. Another favorite is Grilled Quail. I’m hungry now….


  15. Pingback: girlrobot’s guide to the internet! » My Artichoke Post

  16. kellie — 4/17/07 @ 11:01 am

    I made these last night! Delicious! I had bought alot more than required, so I got impatient after the first batch and threw them all in the pan at once. They still managed to crisp up nicely and were very tasty.

  17. SteamyKitchen — 4/17/07 @ 11:55 am

    Kellie- Thanks for making these! I’m so happy that you enjoyed them.

  18. Pingback: Killer Cajun Shrimp « Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen

  19. Pingback: food.jpoliva.org » Blog Archive » Maitake Carbonara alla Tagliatelle

  20. Pingback: Fried Baby Artichokes « Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen (old site)

  21. Pingback: Dinner Thursday: Artichokes with Lemon Butter « The Mama Bee

  22. Pingback: FoodieTots.com » Blog Archive » Local Potluck Tuesday (and Fried Baby Artichokes)

  23. sara — 1/3/11 @ 2:23 am

    I’ve been to Esperpento and the food is fantastic there!! =)

  24. Jamie — 5/12/11 @ 7:23 pm

    Looks great! How much water do I mix w/ the 1/2 lemon?


  25. Jamie — 5/13/11 @ 9:00 am


  26. Kicksotic — 5/25/11 @ 4:54 pm

    Can these Malnourished Under-Achieving Chokes — sorry, I meant baby artichokes — be made ahead of time and kept warm in a low oven? And then spritz with the lemon and cheese and whatnot before serving?

    Just curious …

  27. Heidi P. — 6/8/11 @ 8:56 pm

    Mmmm. Works great w/ canned artichokes, too. My 18 mo. old LOVES this.

  28. Pingback: Fresh Produce Tuesday- Week #2: Artichokes | 2 Sisters 2 Cities

  29. Gail — 4/19/14 @ 6:27 pm

    I just purchased a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen artichokes. Can they be cooked frozen or should I thaw them first? They look perfect for this recipe.

    • SteamyKitchen — 4/20/14 @ 9:49 am

      Hi Gail – I’ve never used frozen Artichokes, not sure it would work well in this recipe as they would be too wet and soft when defrosted. Cooking frozen would release moisture as well.

Leave a Comment