Saturday 28 May 2011

Deep-fried artichokes

This is deep-fried artichokes and lemon with mint and anchovy dressing. It's made from a recipe in My Favourite Ingredients by Skye Gyngell and I've long wanted to try it - The combination of nutty creamy artichoke and sharp lemon is enticing and while I've had deep-fried artichokes in Rome, where they are a standard restaurant dish, I've never tried it myself. With three little artichokes just the right size on the plot today, I seized the moment and cut all three of them for the dish. For once, I made myself stick strictly to the recipe instructions - no going off piste and deciding to have mayonnaise instead of the mint and anchovy dressing

The results were stunning. Lots of contrasts: between the crispy batter shell and soft artichoke, the sharpness of the lemon softened by the fast cooking, the coolness of the mint with the pungency of the anchovy, and all brought together beautifully.

In truth, it's time-consuming to prepare. The batter requires the inclusion of an egg white whisked to firm peaks (and it does make an incredibly light, crunchy batter), the dressing needs the slow addition of olive oil to create an emulsion and of course artichokes can be fiddly to prepare, although actually the smaller baby 'chokes are easier to trim than fully mature ones - they're less tough.

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