L to R: Marinated Artichokes & Fried Artichokes
I like to buy the baby artichokes for fritters. You can also ask the growers to pick them early for you.
2 pounds fresh baby artichokes; 4 tbsp. white vinegar; 1-1/2 cup pancake mix or chickpea flour; 1 tsp. celery seeds; 1/2 tsp. each cayenne pepper, garlic powder, turmeric powder; 1/4 cup milk; about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup water as needed; canola or olive oil to deep fry; chutney or any favorite sauce to serve.
Place the whole artichokes in a large and wide pot, cover with the water about 1-inch higher, add the vinegar, and bring them to a boil. Cover and boil for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the size, until they are soft. Drain, cool, then working with one artichoke at a time, cut off the pointed top, about 1/4 on the top (the hard part); take off the extra stem (leave about 1/2-inch stem attached), split the artichoke in half lengthwise from the stem. Now take off the outer dark 4 to 5 leaves and leave on the lighter soft leaves attached to the stem. Baby artichokes do not have chokes (fibers at the center). Do the same to all artichokes.
For the Batter: In a medium bowl, whisk pancake mix or chickpea flour, celery seeds, cayenne, garlic powder, turmeric powder and salt to taste if using the chickpea flour. Add the milk, then slowly add the water, whisking until it is a little thicker than the pancake-batter consistency.
Heat the oil in a wok, or a deep frying pan about 1-1/2-inch deep, to 375 degrees. When the oil is hot, take one piece of the cut artichoke, hold the stem, dip both sides into the batter, then wipe out the batter slightly on the rim of the bowl, and drop the artichoke cut side down into the hot oil carefully. Cook fritters in batches, in single layers; do not crown the oil. When browned underneath, turn it over once. Cook about 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Take them out with a perforated spoon on a paper towel-lined tray. Serve hot with sauce or chutney.
To Make the Marinated Artichokes:
Follow the recipe above – just boil, clean and halve the artichokes. In a large pot bring 3 cups of water to boil, add 1 cup of white vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. salt or to taste, 1Tbsp. each crushed black peppercorn, mustard seeds, and peeled crushed fresh garlic cloves, 1Tsp. dry rosemary or parsley, lower the heat to a simmer. Add the cleaned artichokes to the simmering water. Simmer on low for 15-20 minutes, take off the heat, cool, and add 1/4 cup of olive oil. Fill the artichokes in the clean jars together with some liquid, cover with the lid. Cool completely and refrigerate. They are ready to serve. Refrigerate for up to 4-5 weeks.
You can also prepare (boil and clean) the artichokes, place them in a sealed container and freeze them up to 2 months. When ready to use defrost them overnight in the refrigerator, and deep fry or marinate them as above.