Monday, April 8, 2013

Carciofo alla Giudia

I don’t know why, but I never attempted to make this typical Roman Jewish-style artichoke, until now.  In a way, it has always intimidated me and I keep placing it behind my infinite list of things-to-do.  To be honest, I did make it once and it turned out horrible… I omitted the part where I was supposed to remove the hard leaves, thinking they were needed to get that typical sunflower shape.  Big mistake!  … it took a whole roll of dental floss to pull out the leaves stuck in between my teeth.  I decided I would give it a second chance, only when I was 100% sure I’d get it straight.    
Picture this, you’re here in Rome on vacation.  Spring is fully at its peaks, the sun is high, the sky is blue and you're walking downtown Rome, in the beautiful historical Jewish area (il Ghetto).  You look to your right and there’s art, you look to your left and there’s history, you make your way through those tiny narrow streets…you’re living in a movie, like the many you’ve already seen.  The  scents of food, delicious food, are evolving from every corner. The street lights turn on and you suddenly realize that the day has gone by quickly.  A soft yellowish light spreads across the cobblestones,  leading  your path towards “Giggetto”, a little restaurant next to the Octavia Portico and behind the synagogue.  You decide to sit outside, it’s chilly but you're fine, you order some house wine, a Carciofo alla Giudia and you unconsciously impress this moment in your mind while you dazzle off, taking a deep breath to inhale every bit of the beauty surrounding you.

…and in case this doesn’t happen, not to worry, I can at least help you make a Carciofo alla Giudia to die for, it might not be the same like Giggetto’s but you’ll never forget the moment of pleasure when you bite into those crunchy nutty flavored leaves.

First, this isn’t a recipe, but a step-by-step-guide-me-through-how to make a Carciofo alla Giudia.  You will need the typical “Romanesco” artichoke variety, in lack of this, you can use big fresh artichokes with thick, tightly closed leaves.  The only task to make it perfect, is to clean the artichoke correctly. Eliminate all the external leaves by hand and then with a spiral movement, eliminate the hard leave tips using a sharp knife like this.  Place each clean artichoke in a bowl with water and lemon juice, this will prevent them from darkening.  When you are done cleaning the artichokes, beat them, leaves down, on a hard surface, this helps the leaves separate from one another and will open easily while frying.  Heat olive oil in a small pot with high edges.  Deep fry the artichokes, leaves down, stem up.  Use a stick or fork to force the artichoke down, keeping it from floating.  You will notice that the leaves will suddenly open to form a sunflower shape.  Keep frying until the leaves are golden brown.  Remove the artichoke from oil and place on absorbent paper.  Simply sprinkle with some good salt, I suggest “maldon” sea salt, I find it is perfect for this type of cooking.  Eat warm.


  1. Those artichokes look really scrumptious! A wonderful way of preparing them.



    1. Many thanks! They really are scrumptious, you must try.