Crispy artichoke hearts appetizer

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Hi, all!!

As you may have noticed, I took somewhat of an extended hiatus from posting new recipes. I have missed it, but I do have a good reason – I’m expecting my first child. I’ve just started the third trimester, and the first half of this pregnancy was… rough. I was very sick, and not eating (nor cooking) very much. Thank God for Mom, who took over in the kitchen, so that my husband didn’t go hungry. On the plus side, the doctor kept telling me that nausea is actually a good sign of a healthy pregnancy, so that was my consolation prize, I suppose. Now that I’m several months along, the nausea has pretty much dissipated (except for a random queasiness first thing in the morning), I’m back in the kitchen and excited for it!!

Yesterday, for an appetizer before dinner, I made these yummy little crispy prosciutto-wrapped, breaded artichoke hearts. These are relatively labor-intensive, but worth it if you want to impress your dinner guests. I “stole” this recipe from our favorite Spanish restaurant, and I have to say, they were quite easy to replicate at home. You will need the following ingredients:

– Whole artichoke hearts in a jar

– Enough slices of prosciutto to wrap each heart in a slice (I made only 8 because that’s how many were in the prosciutto packet, apparently)

– 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (I prefer panko)  – or buy plain crumbs and season them yourself with some salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil and oregano.

-1 egg, beaten well with 2 tablespoons of cold water

– 1 cup oil for frying.

Start by giving each artichoke heart a gentle squeeze with a paper towel, to get as much moisture out as you can. Lay the artichoke heart along a slice of prosciutto and wrap as tightly as you can, like a burrito. Prosciutto isn’t easy to work with, so just do the best you can with all the bits and pieces that might start ripping off. Once you’ve wrapped the heart, give it another gentle squeeze with your hands, to really make sure the prosciutto sticks. Your finished hearts will look like this:

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The next step is to roll each heart in some egg wash, and then dip them into the bread crumbs, and roll some more, patting the crumbs into the each heart with your fingers to make sure and get a good bread coating. Now you have these:

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Once they are all wrapped in prosciutto and coated in bread crumbs, the next step is important!! REFRIGERATE for about an hour, but at least 30 minutes. This helps the egg wash to harden and the bread coating to really stick to the artichoke hearts, to that you don’t have a mess of bread crumbs in your frying pan and none left on your hearts.

Before you’re ready to serve, heat the oil in a frying pan or small pot on medium heat. Add the breaded artichoke hearts gently, one by one, so as not to disturb the crumb coating. If they don’t start to slightly sizzle, the oil isn’t hot enough. The oil should come about half-way up the hearts; if it doesn’t, add a little bit more. Fry the hearts on one side until browned and crispy – about 4-5 minutes, then turn over onto the other side, using tongs.

Serve hot and crispy with a little aioli dipping sauce on the side. To make the aioli, just mix mayo with crushed garlic and a little but of lemon juice, and mix well into a homogenous mixture. Sprinkle with a bit of paprika.

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Enjoy! I hope to be posting more recipes again soon!

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