A crispy Italian delicacy – mixed seafood, artichokes, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves are flash-fried and served with a squeeze of lemon.
In an electric deep fryer or heavy-bottomed pot, add enough oil until it reaches about 1/3 of the way up the vessel. Slowly preheat the oil over low heat until it reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
While the oil is heating, drain and quarter the artichoke hearts. Wash and dry the cherry tomatoes and the basil leaves. Cut the lemon into wedges. Place the cornstarch into a large bowl and set everything aside.
As the oil approaches the proper cooking temperature, prepare the seafood. Remove the side muscle from the scallops and clean and de-vein the shrimp (leave the tail on). Clean the squid. Remove the tentacles and slice the body into 1/2" -inch rings. Cut the halibut into approximately 1" -inch pieces.
Just before frying, place a cooling rack over a baking sheet and place a paper towel over top to drain the seafood once it comes out of the fryer.
When you are ready to fry, place half of the scallops, shrimp, squid and halibut into the cornstarch. Toss to combine. Shake off the excess cornstarch in a strainer or spider. Place into the fryer and fry for about 20 to 30 seconds. Remove and place onto the paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the second batch, drain and season.
Toss the artichokes and tomatoes in the cornstarch to coat. Shake off the excess. Place into the fryer and fry for about 10 to 15 seconds or just until the tomato skins split. Remove, drain and season.
Next, place the fresh basil leaves onto a spider and lower into the fryer for about 5 to 10 seconds. Be very careful because the moisture from the basil leaves will cause the oil to splatter quite a bit.
Once done, assemble everything on a platter and serve immediately with the lemon wedges.