Artichoke Buñuelos with Jamón
The Spanish are experts when it comes to frying foods without making them heavy and greasy. Buñuelos, fritters made with various fillings, most commonly salted cod in Spain, are a perfect example of this. Buñuelos de alcachofa, or artichoke fritters, have a deliciously light, crunchy exterior that gives way to tender artichoke hearts of the highest quality. In this recipe we serve buñuelos de alcachofa with rich jamón ibérico, a squeeze of lemon juice and a pimentón-laced alioli.
- 400 grams (about 20 pieces) artichoke hearts from Navarra, rinsed, halved and dried of excess moisture
- 1 cup of flour
- ½ can of beer (6 oz)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- cooking oil
- 40 small slices of jamón ibérico
- pimentón de La Vera (Spanish paprika) to taste - sweet, semi-sweet or spicy, your choice
- 3 lemons
- Whisk together the beer, oil and egg.
- Add the flour little by little until incorporated into a smooth batter.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
- In the meantime, mix alioli, jarred or prepared in advance from scratch, with pimentón to taste. We like to add enough pimentón to notice the flavor but not so much that it masks the olive oil and garlic flavors of the alioli.
- Heat enough oil to cover each piece of artichoke completely when you fry them.
- Remove the batter from the refrigerator and give it a good stir to ensure the mixture is homogenous.
- Coat each piece of artichoke in batter and fry in hot oil until golden, removing from the oil to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
- When the artichoke buñuelos are ready, fold the slices of jamón and place one below each artichoke buñuelo on your serving platter.
- Squeeze a little bit of lemon juice over the buñuelos and serve with pimentón alioli for dipping.
If you choose to make artichoke buñuelos with whole artichokes rather than jarred artichokes, trim the leaves until only the hearts remain, cut in half, soak them in lemon water and then boil and dry before battering. If the buñuelos won't be eaten immediately, it's better to serve them with lemon wedges than to sprinkle juice over all of the buñuelos, that way they will stay crisp until they are ready to be eaten. This recipe can be vegetarian if you omit the jamón, but in that case, make sure to season the buñuelos with a little extra salt.