Flowers, though quiet, have a lot to say. For instance: I’m sorry. I like you. And, at prom: You’re mine.
The tradition, one tradition has it, dates back to the damsel who ripped a swatch from her gown and pressed it into the armored fingers of her departing knight. He was hers.
Now she wears a corsage, which means bodice, though it snaps around the wrist. He wears a boutonniere, which means buttonhole, though it’s generally secured with a pin. Let’s hope there’s no teen so prickly that the archaic, inaccurate lingo spoils prom.
Plus the matchy thing is kinda cute, once. The young romantic might choose a single rosebud, or – more fancifully – a pinwheel, feather or origami contraption. He might even consider a fried artichoke, which is, after all, a pale green, if prickly, blossom. It’s all heart. And tastier than rose, pinwheel, feather or origami.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Makes: 13 artichokes, serves 4
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds (about 13) fresh tiny artichokes
1 whole clove garlic, peeled
1 sprig thyme
1. Season: Rub together zest and salt. Set aside.
2. Trim: Snap off artichoke leaves (actually, they’re petals), exposing leaves that are pale green at the base, dark green at the point. Use a serrated knife to halve the artichoke, leaving only the pale portion. Use a vegetable peeler to smooth any notches and trim away dark green skin of the stem. Now you’ve got something that looks like a pale green rosebud.
3. Poach: Pour oil into a sturdy pot to a depth of 1 1 / 2 inches. Drop in garlic and thyme. Heat oil to 230 degrees. Lower in as many artichokes as fit in a single layer. Oil should bubble around the artichokes as they poach – not fry. Cook until tender (poke with a skewer just above the stem – it should be easy work), about 10-12 minutes. Use tongs to lift out artichokes and drain, stem-side up, on paper towels. Repeat, if need be, poaching all artichokes. Discard garlic and thyme.
4. Fry: When artichokes are cool enough to handle (about 10 minutes), gently prize open the leaves just a bit, showing off the artichoke’s roselike bloom. Heat the same pot of oil to 365 degrees. Fry artichokes until golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels. Arrange the bouquet on a plate. Sprinkle with lemon salt. Munch.