Sunday, October 19, 2014

Marinated Artichoke Tempura

I love fried food.  Proper Southern fried chicken, onions rings in puffy fried batter,  tempura shrimp and vegetables with a sweet soy dipping sauce, corn fritters dripping honey, conch fritters, hush puppies, Nathan's French fries, fried pickles, and the list could go on forever.  Many of these taste best with a mayonnaise-based dipping sauce and I can hear my arteries hardening as I type this.  

I also love artichokes.  Whole globe artichokes, which I stuff with savory flavors and bake or cook in the crockpot.  Frozen or canned artichoke hearts for sauces and soups.  Marinated artichoke hearts for antipasto and cold pasta sauces.  And frying.  Oh yes, you can take canned or marinated artichokes and bread them or batter them.  I first had breaded fried artichoke hearts at BJ's Brewhouse at the Loop in Kissimmee, and I was hooked.  So when I got a craving the other day,  I just had to try making it at home.  Rather than set up a breading station of flour, egg, and bread crumb, I tried this tempura version.  Much easier.  I'll save breading stations and the inevitable "club hand" for my fried eggplant.

Marinated Artichoke Tempura

2-12 oz. jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
dash of salt
dash of granulated garlic (optional)
1 cup very cold water

canola oil for frying
additional salt 

Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan, over medium high heat.

Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and seasonings.  Gradually add the water and whisk until the batter is smooth.  Make sure that the artichoke hearts are as dry as you can get them; be prepared for some oil splatter.  Dip the artichoke in the batter, letting the excess drip off, and then, while you are standing arm's length from the pan, gently place the battered artichoke into the hot oil.  Repeat, working in several batches so that there is space between the pieces while they cook.  Turn one time, and when they are light golden brown, remove to a rack set over a baking sheet or aluminum foil to catch the excess oil drips.   Immediately season the hot artichoke hearts with salt.

Pretty, aren't they?

I tried a couple of my go-to dipping sauces - honey mustard, horseradish, even salsa rosada, but they all overwhelmed the delicate artichoke flavor.  I then took a couple of tablespoons of Hellman's mayonnaise, thinned it with  a little fresh lemon juice, and dipped into that.  Perfect - it enhanced the artichoke flavor.  Just add lemon juice and taste as you go. 

No comments:

Post a Comment