Spring Artichoke Soup
For the Soup:
1/2 lemon, juiced
8 medium artichokes
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
2 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, smashed
3/4-1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken stock
one (2-inch) piece of Parmesan rind
1/3 cup heavy cream
fresh cracked black peppercorns
For the Crispy Artichokes:
2 medium artichokes, thinly sliced
vegetable oil, for frying
salt, as needed
For the Soup: Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water. Add the lemon juice and place near your work station.
Working one artichoke at a time, snap off the hard outer leaves. Using a knife, cut off the stem, trimming the vase as need and cut off the top two thirds of the leaves. Using a teaspoon, gently scrape out all the furry stuff on top of the artichoke heart. Rub the heart all over with the lemon half and place in the water. Repeat the above process with the remaining artichokes.
Drain the artichoke hearts, pat dry and set aside. Place a medium size stockpot over low medium heat. Add the olive oil and when hot, but not smoking, add the artichoke hearts, potatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, while stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and Parmesan rind and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
When cool enough to handle, remove the parmesan rind. Working in batches, puree the soup until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan, stir in the heavy cream and adjust the seasoning as needed. Keep the soup warm while you make the crispy artichokes.
For the Crispy Artichokes: Fill a small mixing bowl with cold water. Add the lemon juice and place near your work station. Remove the outer leaves until you reach the pale green/yellow ones. Using a knife, cut off 1/2 of the top. Trim the bottoms removing the hard outer areas. Run the artichoke with lemon and place in the prepared bowl. Repeat the above with the remaining artichoke.
Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, thinly slice the artichokes and place back in the lemon water. Set aside.Line a plate with paper towels and place near your work station.
Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add enough oil so it is about 1/2-inch deep. Drain and pat dry the sliced artichokes. When the oil is hot, working in batches, add some artichokes and cook, stirring frequently, till crispy and golden, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the artichokes form the oil and drain on the prepared plate. Season with salt and repeat the above process until all the artichoke shavings are cooked.
To Serve: Ladle the soup in serving bowls and top with a generous amount of crispy artichokes and some fresh cracked black peppercorns.