The first time I had artichokes, I was sitting in a park in St. Helena with a few other parents hanging out watching our kids play. Weird, right? Not in Napa Valley. It seemed very normal for neighbors to come together with what they had for a simple picnic complete with really good wine. (One picnicker was the head of a major winery and that was her contribution.) These Air Fryer artichokes are my easy update to what became one of my favorite springtime foods after that night. But I will be honest…the Shallot Dipping Sauce should be the reason for an artichoke to exist! 🙂
Artichoke Fun Facts
Artichokes are a Flower not a Veggie!
There’s a fun fact to bring up at your next boring dinner party. It’s true. They are part of the thistle family, thus the furry middle part of the artichoke. When overgrown, they truly do look like a thistle and are not edible at that point. But prior to that time when they are in high season, they are completely delicious!
Artichokes are a Nutritional Powerhouse!
Artichokes are full of nutrients and very low in calories. They contain a bitter compound that is a potent digestive aid. They are full of fiber and help lower blood sugar. They also contain tons of vitamins including large amounts of vitamin C and folate (the natural form of folic acid). Click here for all the benefits of eating artichokes, whether whole like these Crispy Air Fryer Artichokes, or eating just the hearts.
How to Buy Whole Artichokes
Seeing artichokes at the store can be intimidating. They are in season now, though, so it is the time to try them if you never have. When you buy artichokes, look for these things:
- Size – Look for artichokes that are either babies (about golfball size) or bigger than a baseball. Babies can be sliced very thin and sauteed without any further prep since they furry “choke” is not yet developed. My Crispy Air Fryer Artichoke recipe features the bigger ones. The in between sizes are much harder to deal with and don’t meet the next standard point (thick stem) so skip them.
- Thick stem – a thick stem indicates the heart is big and meaty. Since this is the “prize” you want it to be worth it.
- Tight petals that squeak – The petals of an artichoke should be tight like a flower that hasn’t opened yet and when you squeeze them they should squeak. The squeak indicates they are fresh and still hydrated.
- Heavy for their size – Similar to the “squeak” heaviness indicates they are still hydrated and fresh. Artichokes that are dehydrated even slightly will be harder to cook tender.
How to Eat an Artichoke
If you’ve never eaten an artichoke, it is a messy endeavor, but very delicious, much like eating fresh crab or lobster. Tear off each outer leave and dip in the sauce. Scrape the meat off the inside bottom part of the leaf. (If there doesn’t seem to be any on there, just keep tearing off the leaves until you get to the “meatier” ones.)
Other forms of Artichokes
I’ve talked about buying whole fresh artichokes, but there are many other ways to enjoy these amazing “flowers” any time of the year:
- Marinated artichoke hearts – look for a marinade with Extra virgin olive oil over any other oils. Trader Joe’s has individual packs that are awesome for picnics or for using when you don’t want to use the marinade.
- Frozen artichoke hearts – available at higher end grocery stores and Trader Joe’s.
- Canned artichoke hearts – Canned hearts are easy to keep also if you prefer not to take up freezer space with the frozen version.
How to Make Crispy Air Fryer Artichokes
Step One: Cut Artichoke in Half Lengthwise
Either cut through the stem and down through the top or cut into the side, whichever is easiest.
Step Two: Remove Choke
Use a spoon and scrape out all the fuzzy core and the leaves attached to leave a cavity above the heart of the artichoke. Rinse well.
Step Three: Place on foil and drizzle with EVOO and herbs
Drizzle the cavity with lots of extra virgin olive oil then sprinkle with freshly squeezed lemon juice, Magic Salt, fresh thyme and red pepper flakes.
Step Four: Fold up foil to make a tight packet
Fold up the foil tightly to completely enclose the artichokes so the olive oil and juices won’t escape.
Step Five: Repeat for both artichokes
I like to make more than one artichoke at a time because they are great leftovers. Repeat steps 1-4 for however many artichokes you have. Most air fryers will only accommodate two at a time, but if you want to roast in the oven instead you can do even more. Just follow the instructions for settings below and set foil packets on a baking sheet in the oven.
Step Six: Add packets to Air Fryer
Set to “Roast” at 350 degrees for one hour. If you don’t have a roast setting just adjust the temp for the Air Fry setting.
Step Seven: Make Shallot Dipping Sauce
Whisk together the shallots, mustard, Magic Salt, and vinegar together well. Drizzle in the oil until you have about three times the amount of oil compared to the shallot mixture. Whisk well to incoporate. Transfer to a serving bowl or jar if you’re not serving right away.
Step Eight: Check Roasted Artichokes
Using a paring knife, test the heart and when the paring knife goes in and comes out without any resistance, they are ready to eat.
Step Nine: Serve with Dipping Sauce
If you’re not serving until a later time, keep the sauce in a jar refrigerated.
How to Cook Artichokes Without an Air Fryer
If you don’t have an air fryer*, simply roast in your oven. If you have a grill, you can throw over indirect heat for an hour. After the artichokes are tender, grill them face down for a few minutes to get good grill marks. This is actually my favorite way to enjoy them, but not always practical if weather isn’t cooperating. *(Here’s my fave if you want to remedy that.)
What to Serve with Air Fryer Artichokes
You can serve artichokes with almost anything.
- They are great as an appetizer for a dinner party and very interactive.
- Serve on a brunch buffet with tiny bowls or cups of the dipping sauce
- Or simply serve as an elegant brunch starter
- Serve them alongside grilled chicken or fish.
- They can be served warm (not hot), cold or room temperature.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Artichokes
Store leftover artichokes in a storage bowl with a lid or tight covering. Reheat in the oven covered with foil and a little water and lemon juice in the baking dish. You can also serve cold or room temperature.
Air Fryer Artichokes with Shallot Dipping Sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh thyme sprigs
Red Pepper Flakes
- Shallot Dipping Sauce
1/2 small shallot, chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp Magic Salt
1 tbsp Sherry, Red Wine or Apple Cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Cut artichoke in half lengthwise.
- Remove choke with a spoon. (A grapefruit spoon works well.)
- Rinse out then place on foil.
- Drizzle well with lemon juice and EVOO. Sprinkle with thyme, red pepper flakes and Magic Salt.
- Wrap tightly in foil and add to Air Fryer. Set to “Roast” with temp at 350 degrees and timer for one hour or until a paring knife can be inserted and removed easily. At this point, you can cool and refrigerate the artichokes for 3-4 days or go to step 6 immediately.
- Hit the Air Fry button and when you hear notification to add food, place the artichokes directly on the cooking grate and cook for 10 minutes or until the artichokes are brown and crispy on the edges.
- Let cool slightly before serving.
- Serve with dipping sauce.
- Make Shallot Dipping Sauce
- While artichokes are cooking, make dipping sauce.
- Whisk shallots, mustard, Magic Salt and Vinegar.
- Drizzle in EVOO and whisk again to incorporate.
- Transfer to a serving bowl or jar if you’re not serving until later.
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