Popular for Passover, artichokes fried in the Jewish style, or carciofi alla giudia, are famously tied to the old Roman Ghetto, where tourists now flock for a taste of the traditional dish still made in area restaurants. In “The Book of Jewish Food,” author Claudia Roden explains that locals make the specialty with Roman variety artichokes harvested in Italy while young and tender and eat them whole. Here, globe artichokes are quartered and fried twice, first to soften the stem and heart, then, at a higher temperature, to crisp the leaves. For best results, choose the freshest artichokes available. They should be deep green, compact, and feel heavy for their size. Have a bowl of lemon water close by to keep trimmed artichokes from browning as you work.
|Juice of 2 lemons
|large globe artichokes, stems on
|quarts olive oil, or enough to just cover the artichokes
|Salt and black pepper, to taste
|lemons, quartered (for serving)
1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and add the lemon juice. Have on hand a tray lined with paper towels.
2. Working with one artichoke at a time, pull off the tough outermost layers of leaves until only the tender pale green layers remain. Cut about ⅓ off the top of the artichoke. Peel and trim the stem, removing any remaining ends of the outer leaves at the base of the artichoke as you go. Quarter the artichokes lengthwise and, using a small melon baller or spoon, remove the fuzzy choke and the small thorny leaves surrounding it from each piece. Immediately transfer each quarter to the lemon water.
3. In a large flameproof casserole over medium heat, heat the olive oil to about 250 degrees. Dry the artichokes thoroughly with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Add the artichokes to the oil and cook, turning occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Remove to the tray to drain.
4. Heat the oil to 350 degrees. Working in batches, return the artichokes to the oil and cook, turning frequently, for 2 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Transfer to the tray to drain. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve immediately with lemon wedges.
Valerie Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.