Dana Slatkin

Fried Artichoke Hearts with Lemon and Parmesan Cheese

Fried Artichoke HeartsI know Spring is still a few weeks away, but I’m already craving artichokes. And I don’t mean those delicate, painstakingly pruned baby artichokes that are all the rage on upscale restaurant menus around town. I’m talking about the kind I used to shamelessly douse in ketchup and gobble from paper trays during our annual family pilgrimage to The Giant Artichoke.

Every spring break, we would drive up the California coast to spend a quiet week in Monterey County. The beach was deserted and serene, with plenty of shells and driftwood to keep my brother and I occupied all day. But the highlight for me was the trip inland, through miles of gray-green fields, to the sleepy town of Castroville.

Unassuming and quaint, Castroville supplies 100 percent of this country’s artichokes. But the main attraction is a homey farm stand turned tourist mecca with a gigantic artichoke in the parking lot. The roadside landmark is where hoards of travelers flock for all things artichoke. And it’s where, for one week at least, we were happy together, gorging on golden, batter-fried nuggets, time suspended in greasy bliss.

I’ve recreated the recipe, using frozen hearts to save time, and a healthful oil that won’t burn while frying. You can add cayenne pepper or fresh herbs to the batter and substitute seltzer water for beer. Make an extra batch to keep in the freezer, because they are addictive indeed. And perhaps, when you are longing for the warmer, carefree days of Spring, they will satisfy your craving, too.

For two fresh takes on dipping sauces, try my Yogurt Tahini Dressing and Tomato Chutney.

If veggie fries are a hit in your house, too, try my Shiitake Mushroom Fries.

Don’t forget to submit a recipe for my March Cooking Contest. You have a great chance of winning some fabulous prizes!

Photo credit: theroamingbelly.blogspot.com

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  1. Darrel Suderman, Ph.D. says:

    Hi Dana,

    I have a CA client that wants me to commercialize some fried artichoke products. I actually wrote a food processing book on battered and breaded products a few years ago. Do you have some unique ideas that I could build into my client’s product line. By the way I also do food truck consulting and write on food innovation twice monthly at http://www.qsrweb.com. Take a look.


  2. dana says:

    I would be glad to talk to you about your client’s product line. I also do consulting (I have worked with Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf) and had my own line of snacks and baked goods which sold to airlines and supermarkets. Feel free to contact me at dana@danaslatkin.com

    Thank you for your interest.



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