Carciofi alla Giudia with Fried Lemon

March 25, 2010
Author Notes

About a year ago, I ate an appetizer of fried baby artichokes at one of my favorite restaurants in Boston, Upstairs on the Square. I'd never had artichokes like that, and I fell for them. Since then, I've worked to make a home-style version of that dish, and this is what I came up with. The artichoke is really delicious prepared this way- the stalk and heart become wonderfully tender, and the outer edges of the leaves become crunchy like potato chips. So good! Oh, and if you haven't had fried lemon slices before, hold onto your hat! They are wildly and deliciously lemony. I serve these artichokes with a chickpea puree with gremolata flavors, but feel free to substitute any creamy dip, or just a smear of greek yogurt. - arielleclementine —arielleclementine

Test Kitchen Notes

I've always been curious about frying artichokes at home, and this was a great first recipe to try. Arielleclementine has you peel the outer leaves of the artichokes, which won't get crisp or tender enough from just one round of frying. I didn't peel off quite enough of those tough leaves and learned that the hard way. That notwithstanding, this recipe totally works: by the time the exterior of the artichokes was golden, the inside miraculously had turned tender and juicy. In addition to salting them, I squeezed some lemon on top as well -- delicious. And the chickpea purée is reminiscent of hummus in Israel, which is often perfumed with garlic and parsley. It provides the perfect contrast to the crunch of the artichokes and lemons. Will definitely be making this
again. - Rivka —The Editors

  • Serves 4
  • For the Artichokes
  • 2 large artichokes
  • 2 lemons, meyer if available
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • sea salt, for sprinkling
  • chickpea puree (recipe follows) or greek yogurt
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • For the Chickpea Puree
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas
  • zest and juice of two lemons
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/3 cup water
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
In This Recipe
  1. For the Artichokes
  2. Make the chickpea puree (recipe follows).
  3. Cut one of the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl of water. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the artichokes. With your hands, peel off the tough outer leaves of the artichoke. keep peeling until you start to see pale green tops on the remaining leaves. use your knife to cut off the top third of the artichoke (not the stem end). Use your knife or a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer layer of the stem, and trim off any rough areas around the base of the stem. Cut the artichokes in quarters and remove and discard the feathery choke. Put the prepared artichokes into the bowl of acidulated water.
  5. Heat the oil (it should be about 1 inch deep) in a large pot over medium heat, until shimmery but not smoking. (you can put the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil- if bubbles form around the base, your oil is hot enough).
  6. Dry your first 4 artichoke quarters as best you can with a kitchen towel and ease them quickly into the oil. Be careful! Remaining water may cause the oil to splatter. Let the oil settle down a minute before you attempt to poke and prod the artichokes. Then fry, turning occasionally until the artichokes are golden and tender. Remove from the oil and drain upside down on paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt while the artichokes are still glistening with oil. Repeat this step with the remaining artichokes.
  7. Slice the remaining lemon into very thin slices, and remove any seeds that cling to the slices. Pat the slices dry with paper towels and then drop them into the hot oil. Fry, turning occasionally, until the insides of the lemons are golden brown and the outsides are bright yellow. Drain on paper towels.
  8. To serve, spoon some of the chickpea puree (or a smear of greek yogurt) onto a plate. Drizzle with olive oil. Top with two artichoke quarters and a slice or two of fried lemon. Enjoy!
  1. For the Chickpea Puree
  2. Put all ingredients except parsley into a food processor and process until smooth. Toss in the chopped parsley and pulse a few times to incorporate.
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I have always loved food. My favorite books as a kid always featured food (eg. The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies- so much candy!) and I loved cooking shows like Yan Can Cook and The Frugal Gourmet. I started cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for my family when I was 13 years old. I have food52 to thank for inspiring me to come up with my own recipes, as well as for introducing me to a community of fantastic cooks and their amazing recipes. I try my best to cook locally and seasonally, and I tend to prefer straightforward, simple recipes where the ingredients get to shine. I live in wonderful Austin, Texas with my husband, Andy (a video game programmer) and my son, Henry (an 8-month-old who loves to eat).