The fried artichoke hearts earned high marks with us so it was back to the motorhome for my turn at creating something equally as delicious. My plan was to dip them in an amber beer batter, fry to golden brown perfection, and serve them with a spicy ranch dipping sauce. Betsy was game to try my culinary creation and thought they would go well with our steamed Dungeness crabs. After all, what fried vegetable doesn't go well with steamed seafood?
If you have never cleaned a fresh artichoke, don’t be intimidated by these thistly hunks of green vegetable – it is really very simple. Here is a link from the Culinary Institute of America with instructions on how to clean them and get to the heart. I figured the country’s premier culinary university could explain it better than I could.
So here is the recipe for …
Beer Battered Artichoke Hearts with Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce
12 small artichoke hearts cut in half (or quarters depending on their size)
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch (plus another ¼ cup)
¾ cup amber beer (that leaves a few swigs for the cook)
1 teaspoon creole spice
2 tablespoons Sambal oelek® (Asian chili paste)
½ cup ranch dressing
Mix flour, ¼ cup corn starch, beer and creole spice together and combine thoroughly.
Combine the Sambal oelek® and ranch dressing.
Place two inches of vegetable oil in a heavy duty pan and preheat to 350°F.
In a bowl, place the additional ¼ cup cornstarch. Dip artichoke hearts into corn starch and shake off the excess. Then place hearts in the beer batter. Let excess batter drip off and gently place them in the hot vegetable oil. Fry until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes). Remove hearts to a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.