We do everything to these beauties, we braise them, cook them true roman style, fry them, enrich pasta and risotto with their superior taste, slice them thin and eat them raw in salads - well basically we prepare them in every thinkable way.
The other day we passed by our local veggie pusher - and saw a big crate of the small carciofini - meaning small artichokes - they are actually the small side shouts on the plant and they will never develop into a big artichoke. Normally they are to be found in the market a little bit later in the season - but hey - we grabbed mezzo kilo and went straight back home in the kitchen for a carciofi lunch.
The carciofi alla Giudea - is the classical jewish specialty, you will find on every menu in Rome's Ghetto. Normally they are cooked with the Romanesco artichoke - this type has less chokes and appears to looser leaves, which makes it easier to open them up before frying - so you create the typical flower shape.
But hey with a basket full of mini romaneschi - we thought, why not try this recipe with these small beauties.....it work out great..perfect small carciofi alla giudea - just perfect for aperitivo if you really want to impress - or just enjoy the goodness of artichokes.
6 Romanesco artichokes
sun flower oil for frying
flaky sea salt
Start by preparing the artichokes. Remove the though outer leaves, so you are left with the paler ones - you can test, if you have removed enough by chewing on one...can you eat it - you are there.
Using a small sharp knife, cut of the stalk leaving about a 1-2 cm. Peel the stalk and base of the artichoke. Cut of the top 2 cm of the choke.
Place the chokes in a sauce pan and cover with the sun flower oil. Place them on the stove on high heat, once they start to sizzle/cook, turn down the heat to low and gently poach the chokes, until they are tender enough to pick with the point of a sharp knife - about 20-25 minutes. Lift them out of the oil and place on a plate and set aside. You can actually prepare this in advance.
Once you are ready to serve, bring the oil back to 180 degrees - you can check the oil, by dropping a little piece of bread in the hot oil. It should come to the surface and sizzle right away.
Working with one choke at the time - gently open them up a little to create the flower shape. Lower it into the oil and fry for about 2 minutes until golden and crispy. Press them down with a spoon or kitchen tongs in order to keep them submerged in the oil and to open them up even more. Once fried, lift them out of the oil, place on kitchen paper to soak up excess oil - then serve these morsels straight away sprinkled with sea salt and offer lemon to your guests.