Sometimes you stumble upon a recipe that just makes your life better. It could be a cake, or a delicious soup that hits all your favorite flavors; it could be the perfect spot for cheese fries. (yes, I come from the midwest) Well this apptezier really does it for me. So much so that I actually made it two nights in a row. As the world’s largest shunner of left overs- this is no small miracle. You may have picked up on my slight obsession with fava beans, this is yet another way to prepare them that sends me to the moon and back again. The combination of fava beans with lemon, mint and dill is not one I’d have thought of myself. Good thing I have access to other people’s culinary genius. (thank you Ottolenghi)
Deep frying is my secret weakness. I love deep fried vegetables. Pretty much any of them. (I once survived a trip to Dallas in the 90’s by subsisting on fried okra) We “healthy” it up a bit here by lightly frying in olive oil while breading the artichoke hearts in panko. Panko bread crumbs are super light and airy and perfect for maintaining the deep friend crunch without drowning your food in boiling lard. This appetizer is one I am sure you will love, and also rush out to make the next day. Hurry though- we don’t have much time left with fava beans!
Fried Artichoke Hearths with Fava Bean Puree
barely adapted from Plenty by Ottolenghi
serves 6 as an appetizer
2 cups shelled fava beans (4 pounds in pod)
2 lemons juiced in a bowl of water
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons panko
1 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped dill
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for frying
Remove the fava beans from their pods. As I always say, employ child labor if you have it available. Bring a pot of water to boil, then add the beans and boil for 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and run cold water over them until they are cool enough to touch. Then poke the skin with your fingernail and remove the bright green bean from the skin.
In a food processor, or using a fork, pulse the beans with 4 tablespoons olive oil, the pressed garlic clove and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Make sure to keep the mixture chunky- you don’t want a puree. Stir in the juice of one lemon, the dill and mint and a few pinches of pepper. Taste for salt, and set aside.
Clean the artichokes by peeling off all the outer layers. Once you get to the softer inner layers take a big serrated brean knife and cut the whole top off. You will be left with the hairy choke. Remove the choke with a knife or a spoon. A grapefruit knife would be ideal- but I didn’t have one so I just fought with it a bit.
Trim off the bottom and trim up the sides so that you are left with the edible part. Anywhere you cut, rub that bit with lemon juice to try and help it not turn brown. Drop the heart in the bowl of lemon water and move on the the rest of them. I used two lemons juiced into a bowl of cold water, and I threw the juiced lemons in there too- for good measure. Boil the hearts in water for 7-10 minutes. Test by seeing if a knife goes easily through. Drain on a paper towel.
Set out a bowl with the egg in it, and a bowl with the panko mixed with a teaspoon of salt. Dip the heart in the egg, then cover with panko on both sides. In a small pot heat olive oil about 1 1/2 inches high in the pot, just below the smoke point. Carefully drop the heart in the oil and fry until golden. About 3 minutes per side. Then drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.