The quartered artichoke bottoms open like small flowers as they fry.
- Canola oil, for frying
- 2 medium lemons
- 25 to 30 baby artichokes
- 1 cup Greek-style yogurt, preferably full fat
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Sea salt, for garnish
- Fronds from 6 to 8 stems of dill, chopped, for garnish (4 tablespoons)
Heat about 4 inches of oil in a large pot over high heat, to 350 degrees. Line a large bowl with several layers of paper towels.
Meanwhile, fill another large bowl with cool water and squeeze the juice from the lemons into it.
Peel off and discard the outer leaves of the artichokes until you reach the yellow leaves. Cut off and discard the artichoke tops (about 1 inch) and trim the stem ends. Cut the remaining artichoke bottoms into quarters, placing them in the acidulated water as you work.
Combine the yogurt, oil and kosher salt in a medium bowl; use it to paint the surface of a serving platter.
Drain the artichokes very well and blot them dry on paper towels or a clean dish towel.
Working in several small batches, fry the artichokes for about 1 minute, until the edges of the leaves have begun to open and become golden brown. If possible, use a wire basket or Chinese skimmer to hold the artichokes just under the oil (otherwise, they will float and will take longer to cook). Use a slotted spoon to transfer to the paper towel-lined bowl to drain, then place them on top of the yogurt mixture on the platter.
Season with sea salt to taste and the dill. Serve hot.
From Mike Isabella, head chef at Zaytinya in Penn Quarter.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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