Crispy Fried Artichokes with Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Lemon Vinaigrette

When I received my Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook for Christmas last year, one of the first items I noticed and thought to myself I would want to try was its recipe for crispy fried artichokes with oven roasted tomatoes and lemon vinaigrette. The picture next to the recipe made the dish look so simple and inviting and just plain delicious. Sometimes I think vegetables are not given nearly enough credit especially with all that you can do with them (well, at least here in the United States). While I vowed to stay away forever from cooking with fresh artichokes after an ill-fated attempt at a Julia Child recipe that called for them, I didn’t swear off canned artichokes so all was well. While my tomatoes didn’t caramelize as much as I hoped for, they still came out well and it was a great dish when paired with the entree of macaroni and gouda cheese casserole.

Crispy Fried Artichokes with 
Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Lemon Vinaigrette

4 cups canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons  cornstarch
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (12-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained (about 20 artichokes)
Oven Roasted Tomatoes (recipe follows)
Salad greens
Lemon Vinaigrette 

Heat the canola oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F, or is beginning to bubble. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Coat each artichoke heart in the flour mixture. With a slotted spoon, fry the artichokes in the hot oil for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Drain well on paper towels. Place the artichokes and the tomatoes on top of the salad greens and drizzle with the vinaigrette. 


Oven Roasted Tomatoes

1/4  cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise 
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
Fresh thyme or oregano leaves, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Add the tomatoes to the mixture and toss gently until the tomatoes are coated. Place a wire rack on top of a rimmed sheet pan and place the tomatoes cut side up on top of the wire rack, reserving the vinaigrette mixture. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, the thyme, and oregano. Sprinkle the herb mixture on top of the tomatoes and place the sheet pan in the oven for about 1 hour, or until just beginning to caramelize. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the tomatoes with the reserved vinaigrette, using a pastry brush. Continue to cook for about 30 minutes longer, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Garnish. 

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