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Sicilian Fried Artichoke Hearts In Pastella

Sicilian Fried Artichoke Hearts In Pastella

Fried artichoke hearts in Pastella are a delicious little appetizer or side dish. In our Sicilian version we cover the vegetable in a batter seasoned with parmesan cheese, parsley, and mint. The batter puffs up while cooking and becomes a tasty tender coating that compliments the tangy artichoke heart.

A plate of fried artichokes surrounded by a gray stripped dish towel/
Fried Artichokes

These little treasures are perfect as an addition to a meatless meal. In Sicily, you will often find fried artichokes in pastella on a St. Joseph’s Day table or as part of a Lenten meal, along with other traditional dishes such as Pasta con le Sarde and Sfingi.

What is Pastella?

Pastella is simply an Italian batter that is used primarily for frying vegetables. As with many Italian recipes, different regions have their own versions. This recipe reflects the traditional recipe that my Nonna and mother brought to the US from our small town of Valledolmo, Sicily.

Battered artichoke hearts are frying in a pan of olive oil.
Pan frying artichoke hearts.

Ingredients

Artichoke hearts – quartered and canned.  The canned artichokes are ready to use and do not need to be cooked before dipping and then frying them in the pastella. Just drain them and you are ready to go.

For the pastella:

Ingredients to make pastella.
Ingredients
  • Eggs – beaten
  • Milk – milk of any fat content can be used
  • Grated Parmesan cheese – Pecorino Romano can be substituted.
  • Baking powder – gives the batter some rise
  • Parsley – fresh
  • Mint – dried. If using fresh you may want to add a little extra.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Vegetable oil for pan frying

Variations and Tips:

  • Substitute your favorite vegetable. Broccoli, cardoons, zucchini, eggplant, and cauliflower are popular vegetables cooked in pastella.
  • Harder vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower will need to be cooked to a tender texture before coating in the pastella. The pastella will cook quickly and some raw vegetables will not have enough time to cook through.
  • My family would fry up the leftover pastella as little pancakes. It is delicious!
A plate of broccoli battered and fried with one piece cut in half to show the broccoli.
Fried Broccoli

FAQ

How is it different from other fried food batters?

Pastella is a delicate doughy coating for vegetables. It is thicker and less crispy than tempura or batters you may use on fish or other southern fried foods. This has a softer more tender texture. It also cooks up very quickly, so the vegetables or in this case, artichoke hearts, need to be cooked before coating them in the batter.

What type of oil should you use to fry the artichoke hearts?

Vegetable oil is my go to oil for frying. It is a great all purpose oil that has a high smoke point so it can be used to cook at temperatures as high as 400 – 450 degrees before it starts to burn. It also has a neutral flavor so it won’t change the flavor or your food.

Can you reheat leftovers?

Yes. It is best to reheat them in the oven. Place the artichoke hearts on a baking sheet and spread them apart. Heat them in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Check them at the halfway mark and turn them over. This will make sur that any moisture is evaporated and the fried artichokes are as good as when you first made them.

A white plate with artichokes cooked in a golden pastella

Sicilian Fried Artichoke Hearts in Pastella

Artichoke hearts are coated in a thick batter seasoned with parmesan cheese, parsley and mint and then pan fried to a golden perfection. In Sicily this is often served as part of a meatless meal such as a St. Joseph's day feast or during Lent.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 20 pieces
Calories 46 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 28 oz Artichoke Hearts canned, quartered, drained
  • 4 Eggs
  • ½ cup Milk
  • cup Flour
  • 4 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese grated
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Parsley chopped
  • ½ tsp Mint dried
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions
 

  • Drain the Artichoke hearts and set aside.
    A plate of quartered artichoke hearts.
  • Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, baking powder and sugar in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs for 1 minute. Add the milk to the eggs and continue to beat for an additional minute.
    Eggs and milk beaten together
  • Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the eggs and beat until combined.
  • Beat in 1/3 of the flour and the parmesan and mix until completely combined.
  • Add the remaining flour, parsley and mint and beat for another minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl often.
    The pastella batter has been mixed in a bowl with an electric mixer.
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan set over medium heat.
  • Place half of the artichokes in on a plate and spoon enough pastella over them to completely cover them.
    A plate of artichoke hearts that have been covered in batter.
  • Using a large spoon, transfer one pastella covered artichoke at a time to the hot oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the pastella is golden brown, then turn it over and cook an additional minute or 2. Repeat the process with the remaining artichokes.
    Battered artichoke hearts are frying in a pan of olive oil.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

  • Substitute your favorite vegetable for the artichokes.  Broccoli, cardoons, zucchini, eggplant and cauliflower are popular vegetables cooked in pastella.
  • The vegetable should be cooked to a tender texture before coating in the pastella.  The pastella will cook quickly and a raw vegetable will not have enough time to cook through.
  • My family would fry up the leftover pastella as little pancakes.  It is delicious!

Nutrition

Serving: 20piecesCalories: 46kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 142mgPotassium: 30mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 74IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 19mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Artichokes, parmesan cheese, mint, batter, meatless, Lent, St. Joseph’s day, Fried vegetables, Italian
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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