Fried Artichoke Hearts with Taratur Sauce

Fried Artichoke Hearts with Taratur Sauce
Fried Artichoke Hearts with Taratur Sauce
Fried Artichoke Hearts with Taratur SauceHelen Rosner

We found this recipe—a flavorful local favorite, in which tender artichoke bottoms are fried and served with an intense, tahini-based sauce—at al-Az, a casual but well-known restaurant in Damascus.

Fried Artichoke Hearts with Taratur Sauce
Crisp up tender artichokes with a quick swim in the deep-fryer, and serve alongside an an intense, tahini-lemon sauce.
Yield: serves 4

For the Taratur Sauce

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 12 cup tahini (Middle Eastern sesame seed paste)
  • 12 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tsp. chopped fresh parsley

For the Artichokes

  • 4 cups olive oil
  • 8 hearts of steamed medium artichokes, halved if large
  • 12 cup flour
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Place garlic and salt in a mortar and grind to a paste with pestle. (Garlic can also be very finely chopped.) Transfer garlic paste to a bowl and add tahini. While stirring, drizzle in lemon juice. Thin to the consistency of a thick dip with up to 3 tbsp. water. Stir in 2 tsp. of the parsley.
  2. Heat oil to 375° in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Dredge artichokes in flour, and shake off excess. When oil is hot (a toothpick dropped in oil will quickly turn dark brown when oil is ready), fry artichokes, a few at a time, turning occasionally, until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with salt. Serve with taratur, garnished with remaining 1 tsp. parsley.