Air Fried Artichokes With Black Alioli

Get yourself an air-frier now, please – they’re amazing: it’s like frying with oil – but without oil!

Ok, don’t want to fork out the best part of a couple of hundred quid just now, stick with conventional oil frying.

We have a group due in a few days for a retreat. Our people seem to love Spanish food. And the Spanish absolutely LOVE  artichokes. This is a simply prepared dish, perfect for tapas or on its own as a starter. Crisp outside, tender to al-dente inside, nothing adulterates the purity of the artichoke bar gentle notes of olive, a hint of lemon and the dark, sweet, velvety richness of its saucy companion.

Black garlic has been heated for many weeks to shed it’s pungent heat in favour of a deep, rounded sweetness with hints of balsamic and licorice (apparently it doesn’t make your breath smell). For this dish I like to mix four cloves of black with one clove of raw for that extra woomph. And making mayonnaise is easy as pie, and you control  not just the quality of the oil but how much – or little- goes in.

fresh globe artichokes

Artichokes take a little prepping, but they’re totally worth it, both for their flavour and nutritional value. A single artichoke provides a quarter of your daily dietary fibre needs. Artichokes are also pre-biotic, that is they feed your good gut bacteria. They contain 4g of protein per unit, unusual for a vegetable. And they may lower blood cholesterol by a mechanism similar to that of statins as well as containing all sorts of vitamins and minerals, notably vitamin C, folate and Niacin (vitamin B3 – see nixtamalization of corn for more on Nicacin and the prevention of Pellagra).

Here’s the dish


fresh globe artichokes

Fried Globe Artichokes With Black Garlic Alioli

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 2-3 medium sized globe artichokes per person
  • 2 lemons
  • good olive oil

For The Alioli

  • 3-4 cloves black garlic
  • 1 clove garlic optional
  • your very best olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 2 very fresh, organic, free-range egg yolks


Turning the artichokes

  • this is the term for preparing the artichokes for cooking
  • start by putting some water in a bowl and squeezing in the juice of a lemon. Cut another lemon in half and set aside. You'll use this to rub the cut ends of the artichokes to prevent them - and your fingernails - turning dark grey
  • using a small paring knife or your hands remove the tough outer leaves of the artichoke until you get to the thin, pale inner part. You'll have revealed the artichokes "waist"
    turning an artichoke
  • with a sharp knive cut the artichoke at the waist keeping the heart and stem and discarding the rest
    artichoke on a board being turned
  • with the same sharp knife cut off most of the stalk. Peel off the fibrous outer part of the stalk and the green parts at the base of the artichoke to reveal the tender flesh.
    preparing artichokes
  • rub the cut tips, base and stem, with the cut lemon immediately to keep the colour fresh
  • cut the artichoke in half lengthwise and remove the hock - this is the indedible fibrous flower portion embedded in the artichoke's base or heart. Be thorough. A lump of hock on the palate is not the most pleasureable part of the eating artichokes
    final stage of turning an artichoke
  • place your two artichoke halves in the lemon water and move on to the next

Make the Alioli

  • use a mortar and pestle or garlic press to turn your garlic into a smooth paste. Add the egg yolks and mix well. Season with salt
  • add a small drizzle of olive oil to the garlic base mixing it thoroughly with a small hand whisk or a fork. Continue until the alioli thickens and becomes glossy

Fry the Artichokes

  • fry the artichokes in a good inch or more of olive oil in a frying pan on a medium flame for 12-15 minutes, turning once
  • season with a little salt and serve immediately alongside the alioli
  • if using an air fryer your artichokes enjoy being brushed with a small quantity of oilive oil. Place on trays and "fry" for 11-12 minutes at 200C

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