Fried chicken artichoke crowns with ranch dressing and baby greens
4 Cynara Artichoke Crowns
1 cup all purpose flour
2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon spicy paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 egg whites
1 quart canola oil, or enough to fry
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
½ garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chives, minced
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
¼ pound baby lettuce leaves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
Begin by draining the artichoke crowns of their liquid using a strainer or chinois. Put the canola oil in a medium size sauté pan over medium heat. Prepare a dry dredge by mixing the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, spicy paprika, cayenne pepper, a pinch of salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. In a separate bowl, separate the egg whites from the egg yolks and beat gently for thirty seconds, reserving the yolks for another use. Take a tablespoon of the egg whites and mix it into the dry mix to give it a few clumps. This will give the fried chicken its traditional rustic appearance.
To make the ranch dressing, mix together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, chives, a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. This serving will make more than necessary to fill the fried artichoke crowns but can also be used to serve in a ramekin for dipping. Reserve the ranch dressing.
Test to make sure that the oil is between 350-375°F. Use a few drops of the egg white to test the temperature of the oil. The egg white should fall briefly in the oil before it starts to fry but should not touch the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is at the correct temperature, carefully take each artichoke crown and pass it through the dry mix, then the egg whites, and then back through the dry mix. Repeat with the rest of the artichoke crowns. Shake off any excess dry mix and carefully put them into the hot frying oil. With the help of a slotted spoon or tongs, flip the artichoke crowns in the oil if necessary until golden brown and crunchy. Remove from the hot oil and let drain over a paper towel lined plate.
Dress the baby greens in the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss well and plate in the center of a serving dish. Once the fried artichoke crowns are cool enough to handle, fill the part of the artichoke that once held the “choke” with a tablespoon of the ranch dressing. Finish off with some baby lettuces and skewers to facilitate easy handling.