Hooray! Spring is officially here. In Italy, Spring means fresh produce, and fresh produce means trying new recipes. Why don’t you try this one at home?
Carciofi alla Giudia are a Roman classic that will instantly transport anyone who eats them to the cobblestone streets that weave around the Tiber river. These “Jewish-style” artichokes are fried to a crisp perfection, and delicious as either a starter or a side dish. A squeeze of lemon finishes this perfect springtime classic.
- 4 fresh artichokes
- 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil
- 1 large lemon
- Salt and pepper
Preparation (2 parts)
Part 1: How to Prepare a Fresh Artichoke
- Prepare a large bowl with the juice of one lemon, 1/2 of the rind of the juiced lemon, and 2 quarts of water. As you prepare the artichokes, keep them in the water until you are ready to fry them. This will maintain the fresh green color!
- Cut the bottom of the stem (1 in/2.5 cm ) and rub it with the other half if the lemon.
- Cut the top 1.5 in/4 cm of the artichoke and discard.
- Pull off the outer leaves, pulling downwards towards the stem. Take off the leaves until you reach the light and bright green center (about 25% of the outer leaves should be discarded)
- With a paring knife, trim the dark pieces of leaves around the stem and peel the outer skin off the stem. The stem is now set to be one of the tastiest parts.
- Remember to place each artichoke in the lemon water after you have finished preparing them until all 4 are prepared.
- Look into the center of the artichoke and peel out the shiny purple tipped leaves. These have tiny thorns and must be removed!
Part 2: The Fried Artichoke
- Pour 2 inches of oil (traditions differ and you may choose to use olive oil or peanut oil depending on preference and allergies) into a large frying pan on medium-low heat.
- Dry the artichokes well before adding salt and pepper to the ‘face’ of the artichoke.
- Place the artichokes in the sizzling oil, flat side down. Press them down with tongs and allow them to simmer in the oil for 15 minutes. Stir them occasionally to prevent sticking. Turn down heat immediately if you notice any browning of the artichoke.
- Remove the artichokes and place on a paper towel lined plate.
- Turn the heat WAY up to high and use the tongs to place the artichoke back into the sizzling oil. Press on the artichoke again and watch as it opens like a flower and turns brown and crispy. This should take 30-40 seconds only.
- Place them back on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Immediately transfer to a serving platter or individual plates.
- Serve them hot and sizzling with lemon quarters and daydream about sun-drenched Roman streets in the springtime.