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Roman Jewish artichokes are a sentries old gastronomic tradition. One of Rome’s treasured dishes, they are sometimes called Carciofi Romani. Except for the cleaning of the artichokes it is relatively easy dish to make. If you are looking for a very impressive delicacy you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful presentation.
Baby artichokes are best and require the least cleaning. Once fried they are golden in color and crunchy with a soft center. Squeeze a wedge of lemon over the top and they have lovely nutty flavor.
Carciofi alla Giudia
Prep. Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes per choke in boiling water, 3 minute frying time
Yield: 12-2 per person if used in antipasti
12 small artichokes
Canola or olive oil for frying
Kosher or sea salt
2 lemons, in quarters
Cleaning the Artichokes
Cut the stems off and the tops 1/4 of the way down of all the artichokes. Remove the leaves down to the white leaves. The leaves are removed by pulling them back and snapping them off. It is not necessary to remove the hay in the middle, if the artichokes are very small, but if using medium size artichokes you must remove it with a small spoon, or a melon baller. Place them in a bowl of water with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.
In a pan of salted boiling water (you can use table salt), boil the artichokes for about 3 minutes. Remove them from the pan and turn them upside down on paper towels to drain. They should be completely dry before frying, or the oil will splatter. Once dried turn the artichokes over and gently open them up and loosen the leaves so they look like flowers.
Heat the oil and fry each artichoke upside down in the oil. This will set the leaves open. Turn them and fry them on the bottom side. The artichokes are already blanched and don’t need a long frying time, usually 3-5 minutes. Look for the color when frying; they should not be brown or green, but golden.
Remove them to a rack or paper towels to drain and immediately sprinkle them with a coarse grain sea salt. When biting into them you will sporadically taste the salt. Serve them on a large serving platter with quarter lemons, which should be squeezed over the top.