Fried Artichokes & Caramelized Fennel
Goat cheese, fried artichoke hearts, lemon aioli, grilled chili peppers, caramelized fennel bulbs, fresh dill
Ingredients: 1 ball of dough flour for dusting
semolina flour for pizza stone olive oil salt & pepper 2-3 long hot chili peppers 1 log of goat cheese, crumbled a few sprigs of dill, chopped lemon juice 4 whole artichokes
For the aioli: ½ cup mayonnaise 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 clove garlic, minced salt & pepper
For the caramelized fennel: 2 fennel bulbs 3 ½ tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Directions: Preheat your grill for the peppers, and preheat your oven to 550° F. While these are heating, you can start cleaning the artichokes. First, cut about half an inch off the top of the artichoke, and trim the remaining leaves that didn’t get cut.
Then pull off the dark outer leaves of the artichokes, and trim and peel the stem so that there is no more tough outer skin, and it comes to a point at the bottom.
Next, cut the artichoke in half vertically, and scrape out all the hairs from the center. This is super important—swallowing any of these little hairs is extremely uncomfortable on your throat, so make sure you get them all out.
When you’re finished cleaning each artichoke half, add it to a bowl of ice water and lemon juice, so that it doesn’t turn brown. When you’re ready to fry them, heat an inch or so of canola oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.
Drain each artichoke well and fry them, a couple at a time, until they are golden brown. Then lay them on a paper towel to dry and crisp up. If you want them to be extra crispy, you can also fry them a second time, for just a few seconds each.
Next you can start on the caramelized fennel. Trim the bottom of the fennel bulbs just so that the bulb stays together, and remove any tough or brown outer layers. Then slice them lengthwise about ½-inch thick.
In a frying pan, melt half the butter with half the olive oil over high heat. When the butter starts to get frothy, add some of the fennel slices. Fry for about 1-2 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. Continue with the rest of the fennel (and the rest of the butter and oil).
Once you’ve seared and removed all the fennel slices, add the sugar, fennel seeds, and some salt & pepper to the pan. Stir this mixture for about 30 seconds (still on high heat), then put all the fennel slices back in the pan, allowing them to get coated and caramelized for another minute or two. Then take them off the heat and let them cool on a plate.
When your grill is hot, you can grill your peppers in the center of it, until they are nice and charred on all sides. When they’re finished, let them cool slightly inside a tin foil bundle, so that the skin will come off more easily. Then remove as much of the skin as you can and tear them into strips.
While the peppers are grilling, prepare the aioli by stirring all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
When your oven is hot, prepare your dough using the instructions here. After you’ve baked it for a minute, take it out and brush it lightly with olive oil. Next add the crumbled goat cheese, followed by the fennel, artichokes & peppers.
Pop your pizza in the oven until the crust is a nice golden brown. Take it out, drizzle with the lemon aioli, sprinkle with fresh dill, and enjoy!
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