Vietnamese-Style Sauteed Artichokes

Artichokes take to Vietnamese flavors uncannily well.
Artichokes take to Vietnamese flavors uncannily well.

Besides the abundance of raw, fresh herbs and addictive umami of fish sauce, the other aspect of Vietnamese food that I adore is the French influence on the cuisine.

Case in point: “Vietnamese-Style Sauteed Artichokes.”

Artichokes are certainly not a veg you’d normally see in Vietnamese dishes. But they work beautifully in this recipe from the cookbook, “Tasting Vietnam” (Rizzoli, 2021), of which I received a review copy.

Written by Anne-Solenne Hatte, an actress and model of French and Vietnamese heritage, the book showcases the home-cooking of her maternal grandmother, who grew up in the rice fields of Hanoi, then emigrated to Washington, D.C. and then France, where she opened the restaurant, La Hanoienne.

From surviving the famines of Vietnam to raising nine children in France, her grandmother’s cooking sustained and satiated through the decades, preserving tradition but also adapting to her surroundings along the way.

Learn her story, as you cook your way through “Fried Chicken Wings with Spicy Mango Sauce,” “Mustard Green Soup,” “Sugarcane Shrimp,” and “Tapioca Pearls with Banana.”

I used spring’s purple artichokes for this easy stir-fry dish. Trim the leaves, and remove the choke. The recipe states to juice a whole lemon and toss the cut artichokes in it. I added about a cup of water to the lemon juice just so that the acidic water fully coated the artichokes to prevent them from oxidizing. I noted that in the recipe below.

Purple artichokes. But you can use green ones, too.
Purple artichokes. But you can use green ones, too.

The recipe also stated to add the spring onions to the saute pan with the artichokes. I found the onions were charring too much, though, so I suggested adding them toward the end of the cooking instead.

When the artichokes are tender, deglaze the pan with a quick mix of fish sauce, lemon juice, lemon zest, and minced bird’s eye chilies. Finally, garnish with fresh dill.

If you’ve only enjoyed artichokes with melted butter or mayo, this will open your eyes — and palate — to the possibilities. The firm yet yielding artichokes with their sweet, herbaceous taste get all dressed up with a bold hit of umami, citrus and heat, along with a distinct sweet, minty, grassiness from the frilly dill.

It’s a whole lot of flavor for very few ingredients. So much so that even though the original recipe stated that it serves four, I think it’s more like two, because it’s just that hard to stop eating seconds, and even thirds of this.

The only laborious part is trimming the artichokes. Then, it's only a quick stir-fry before the dish is done.
The only laborious part is trimming the artichokes. Then, it’s only a quick stir-fry before the dish is done.

Vietnamese-Style Sauteed Artichokes (Atiso)

(Serves 2 to 4)

Juice of 1 lemon

6 small artichokes

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest, or more to taste

3 tablespoons sunflower or other neutral oil

1 to 2 bird’s eye chilies, minced, to taste

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 large spring onions, cut into quarters

3 tablespoons minced fresh dill

Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a bowl, and add about 1 cup water. Mix to combine.

Remove the leaves from the artichokes, cut lengthwise into quarters, and remove the choke, if necessary. Immediately put into the bowl of lemon juice-water, tossing to coat, to keep them from turning brown.

Peel and finely mince the garlic. Mix it with the fish sauce, 2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, and lemon zest. Set aside.

Drain artichokes. Add sunflower oil to a saute pan over high heat, and saute artichokes for 6 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Add pepper, chiles, and spring onions 1 minute before the end of cooking, then drain off any excess oil, if necessary. Deglaze pan with garlic-fish sauce-lemon juice mixture. Garnish with dill, and serve.

Adapted from “Tasting Vietnam” by Anne-Solenne Hatte, From the Recipe Collections of Ba Ngoai

Another Vietnamese-Inspired Veggie Dish to Enjoy: Green Beans in Brown Butter and Ginger Fish Sauce

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