artichoke + courgette fritto misto with anchovy vinaigrette
Last Saturday, after a lazy lunch at Haché Burgers on Fulham Road we visited Le Pascalou (a lovely food shop selling an array of French produce – fish, vegetables, fruit, cheeses, charcuterie, baked goods, plus an assortment of deli and grocery items) just down the road. We lugged back quite a stash, including a handful of palourdes, a gleaming skate wing, and for our Sunday brunch – some eggs, chanterelles and Toulouse sausages. There was also a bunch of pretty small globe artichokes and a few small round courgettes that we picked up up on a whim. Recalling a vegetable fritto misto we had enjoyed (alongside a succulent Poulet de Bresse) at a bistro in Beaune, we decided to recreate the dish with our baby vegetables but substituting the accompaniment of mayonnaise with a homemade anchovy vinaigrette. We were really pleased with the results – the batter was light and crispy, with the salty and tangy vinaigrette a perfect foil.
Artichoke and Courgette Fritto Misto with Anchovy Vinaigrette
serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a starter
6 baby globe artichokes
4 round courgettes
150ml (2/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
350ml (1 1/2 cups) sparkling water
190g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
100ml (7 tbsp) olive oil
pinch of salt
1 egg white
freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil (for deep-frying)
To prepare the batter, sift the flour into a large bowl then add the salt and olive oil, using a fork to roughly combine. Continue stirring as you gradually pour in the sparkling water and mix until well combined. In a separate (very clean and dry) bowl whisk your egg white until firm peaks form, then fold into the batter. If not using immediately cover and chill the batter.
To make the vinaigrette blitz all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Wash the vegetables and pat dry. Quarter the round courgettes and set aside. For the baby artichokes, trim and peel the stem. Remove the tough outer leaves and cut the tops (where the colour changes). Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise and scoop out the inedible hairy choke. If you aren’t cooking them straight away coat with the juice of a lemon to stop them from discolouring (you will need to rinse and pat them dry before dipping them in the batter).
Heat the vegetable oil in a deep heavy based pan or wok until very hot, but not smoking. Dip the courgette wedges into the batter, letting any excess drip off before frying. Fry in batches for about 2 minutes, until golden then drain on paper towels. Repeat with the artichokes.
Serve with the vinaigrette and a simply dressed salad for a light main course. If serving as a snack or first course place on a large plate with the vinaigrette on the side as a dip and let everyone dig in.