You Can’t Get Any Better Than Double-Fried Artichoke
You can't miss Giggetto, because it has a giant tower of artichokes at the door. Located on a charming street in the former Jewish ghetto of Roman, this is the place for carciofi alla giudia, crisp-on-the-outside, meltingly-tender-in-the-middle pressed artichokes. It's a local specialty and so delicious. The key is to fry the artichokes twice to get them extra, extra crispy. These make an amazing appetizer during peak artichoke season.
NOTE: If you can't find small artichokes, you will have to parboil larger ones for about five to 10 minutes to hasten the cooking process.
NOTE: Serves 4.
2 lemons, juiced
4 small roman artichokes (purple ones)
1 quart olive oil
1 quart canola oil
2 sprigs rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, quartered for garnish
Prepare an ice bath and add the lemon juice. Prepare the artichokes by trimming the artichoke leaves all the way around and chopping off the top 1 to 2 inches (depending on how big your artichokes are). Use a vegetable peeler to peel the stem. Pop the artichokes into the ice bath as you finish—they oxidize quickly, and this prevents that.
Meanwhile, in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot, heat up the olive oil and canola oil to 325°F. I combined them so that you have the flavor or the olive oil and the higher cooking point of the canola. Thoroughly dry off the artichokes (remember to dump them upside down so that all of the water comes out—seriously, the water will bubble violently if it hits oil) and add them to the oil (you may have to do it in batches). The oil will drop to 300°F; fry for about 15 minutes. Using tongs, push the artichokes down, smashing them into the bottom of the pan, and cook for about a minute. You want to create a "pressed flower" effect. After 15 minutes, take out the artichokes, draining them on paper towels. At this point, you can hold the artichokes (or freeze them even) for future use and fry them up quickly a second time.
Let the artichokes rest for at least 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle. With your fingers, spread the artichokes even more open. Turn up the oil to 385°F, and add the artichokes again. Fry for another 10 minutes, until the artichokes are a deep golden brown. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and immediately season with salt and pepper. Serve 1 artichoke per person, and give them wedges of lemon to season.
Michel Bras Large Kitchen Shears ($80)
Prepping an artichoke is a tedious task unless you're using kitchen shears. My favorite are these ones by Michel Bras. Minimalist, effective, and easy to use.
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How do you usually cook artichoke? Tell us below.