ARTICHOKES ARE GOOD, YES? AND DEEP-FRYING MAKES FOOD TASTE BETTER, YES? SO WHEN YOU DEEP-FRY ARTICHOKES YOU DOUBLE THE GOODNESS? WELL, YES, TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH. THIS DISH OF SMALL ARTICHOKES, BOILED UNTIL SOFT, THEN SEASONED AND DEEP-FRIED IN A LITTLE SEMOLINA AND FINISHED WITH SOME GOLDEN ALMONDS AND A HIT OF LEMON ZEST MAKES A GREAT STARTER TO A MEAL. PASS AROUND A PLATE OF THESE AT YOUR NEXT GATHERING AND A RIPPLE OF PRAISE WILL FOLLOW YOU AROUND THE ROOM. THIS IS A GREAT BITE TO GO WITH A GLASS OF FINO OR EVEN AMONTILLADO SHERRY.
Finely grate the zest of the lemon and set aside. Squeeze the juice into a large bowl of water to stop the artichokes browning as you peel them. Working one at a time, and using a small sharp knife, slice off most of the stem and the top one-third to half of the artichoke tops. Pull off the tough outer leaves to reveal the soft, pale yellow inner leaves, then peel the stem and slice the artichoke in quarters lengthways. Using a teaspoon, scoop out and discard the hairy choke. Place in the acidulated water and repeat with the remaining artichokes.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil over high heat. Add the drained artichokes and boil for 15 minutes, then drain again.
Meanwhile, heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and fry the almonds for 6–8 minutes, or until golden, turning now and then. Remove the almonds with a slotted spoon, reserving the oil in the pan, and drain on paper towel.
Combine the semolina and sea salt flakes on a tray. Working in two batches, toss the drained artichokes in the semolina until lightly coated.
Reheat the reserved olive oil in the frying pan over medium heat and
Pile the artichokes and fried almonds on a warm serving plate. Sprinkle with the lemon zest, parsley and some sea salt flakes and serve warm.
© 2009 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.