Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tempura artichokes with tomato-avocado salad

Fried food is one of life's greatest pleasures. Tempura batter is light, crispy and perfect for frying vegetables. Artichokes are one of my favorites. Justin and I ate them by the bucketload in Italy in pasta, bruschetta, and yes - fried. Baby artichokes are tender and tremendous as a kind of crouton on a salad.
{Printable Recipe}
Ingredients for fried artichokes
1/2 cup flour
salt & pepper
1/4 cup club soda
8 baby artichokes
1 lemon
olive oil

For salad:
Fried artichokes (recipe follows)
1 large heirloom tomato
1 avocado
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

First fill a bowl with water and half a lemon, squeezed. Lemon water helps your trimmed artichokes from getting too oxidized and brown. 

Love me some artichokes.

One important thing to remember about artichokes is that they produce a LOT of waste. You can only eat the innermost part of it, so don't be sad when you have to throw a lot of it away (I know I hate throwing food away). This is the nature of artichokes.

First, rip off the first few layers of leaves until you get to the palest green center leaves.

Chop off the top half. 

With a paring knife, peel off the woody outside layer of the stem.

Look at all that waste. Sigh.

Keep your 'chokes in the lemon water until you're ready to use them.

Measure out your ingredients for the batter (club soda, flour, salt & pepper, pinch cayenne). Heat up a pan of olive oil, 1/2 inch or so. You don't have to deep fry them, but we happen to have a lot of frying oil on hand.

Dry off the artichokes really well (you don't want any water popping out in the olive oil). Dip them in the tempura batter and gently lower them into the heated oil.

Fry them for a couple minutes on each side until golden. Dry them on a paper towel and salt immediately.

Meanwhile, slice your tomato and avocado. Look at this beautiful heirloom I got at Whole Foods.

Already this is looking good. Season the tomatoes and avocado with salt, pepper, and drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic.

 Top with fried artichokes.


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