Everyday Eats: Crispy Baby Artichokes at Prepkitchen
This new Spring dish makes a great starter, but sharing is easier said than done.
Posted Monday, March 18, 2013, 09:00AM
Prepkitchen recently announced some of their new Spring items in a blog post. There's lots that looks good, including a grilled asparagus salad, slow-braised lamb shoulder, and pork schnitzel with pickled veggies (among others), but what I was most psyched to see was a dish that was served as an amuse bouche at Whisknladle's 5th anniversary dinner: crispy baby artichokes with Meyer lemon and aioli ($11.75).
Tender artichoke hearts get dipped in a tempura batter with gremolata (herbs, garlic, and lemon zest) before being lightly fried so that the exterior is crisp, crunchy, and flaky. Alongside them, you get a little pot of garlic aioli for dipping. Mixed in with the artichokes are a few choice slices of meyer lemons, which get the same treatment: a tempura dip and a trip to the fryer. These morsels walk the razor's edge between being sinful (because of the batter) and refreshing (because of their lemony zing). They're a great palate cleanser between bites, or cut them into smaller pieces and get all of the elements together: lemon, artichoke, and a good coating of aioli.
The fried factor makes it a dish that's probably best as a shared appetizer, but set a light, lemony beer beside it, and I'd happily call it lunch or brunch any day. Luckily, at the Little Italy location, the baby artichokes are on all of the menus: lunch, dinner, and brunch.