For all the reasons to love Spring, produce is at the top of my list. I’m pretty sure the exact same thing happened last May. I see artichokes at the supermarket, decide I’m going to cook with them, remember they are a huge pain in the ass to prepare, contemplate using canned artichokes, decide that totally defeats the purpose, then eventually convince myself to cook them from scratch. It’s exhausting (and sometimes painful) but so rewarding once you’re done.
I came up with this idea from browsing The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for an artichoke recipe. When I saw Deb’s Leek Fritters I just couldn’t resist adding artichokes, because you can never have too much Spring in yo’ fritters! They’re similar to the idea of a potato pancake and pairing them with a lemony creme fraiche adds a zesty element. There are tons of different versions of these to try if artichokes aren’t your thing – Deb did a version for the NY Times and Boston blogger, Brian Samuels, of A Thought For Food made his own version as well. Enjoy!
Leek & Artichoke Fritters with Lemon Parsley Creme Fraiche (adapted from Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)
Yields about 20 fritters
Ingredients for the fritters
- 3 large artichokes
- 1 large leek
- 2 scallions, trimmed, halved lengthwise and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- pinch cayenne pepper
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tspb vegetable oil for frying
Ingredients for the Cream
- tbsp parsley, finely chopped
- tbsp lemon juice
- pinch lemon zest
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- pinch cayenne pepper
Leeks - Fill sink or a bowl with cold water. Halve leeks lengthwise and plunge them into water, then swish gently in water, fanning out layers to loosen any grit. Slice crosswise into 1/4-inch strips. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook leeks 3 to 4 minutes, until softened but not limp. Drain and wring dry in a towel.
Artichokes - Peel all the leaves off the choke. Peel the stalk and with a paring knife neatly trim the bottom where you removed the leaves. Cut the trimmed artichokes in half vertically and with a spoon remove the hairy choke. Rub immediately with lemon juice or plunge into a bowl of water with lemon juice so the artichoke doesn’t get brown (which happens VERY quickly!). Steam the hearts until tender. Time varies depending on the size of the hearts (about 15 minutes). When tender towel dry and dice the artichoke hearts.
For the fritters – mix leeks, artichokes, scallions, flour, baking powder eggs, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, black pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice.
For the cream – mix creme fraiche, lemon juice, lemon zest, cayenne, pinch of salt and parsley.
Heat oven to 200 degrees.
In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat until shimmering. Drop heaping tablespoons of leek mixture into skillet and lightly flatten with the back of a spatula. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes; if cooking too quickly, lower the heat. Flip fritters and cook until golden on the other side, another 3 minutes.
Drain on paper towels and transfer to oven. Repeat with remaining leek mixture, adding oil and adjusting heat as needed.
Serve with a dollop of cream on top.