A Classic Roman Recipe

Carciofi alla giudia, or "Jewish-style artichokes", is one of the most famous dishes of Roman Jewish cuisine. These are deep-fried artichokes, that were first prepared in the Jewish community of Rome. 

The original recipe calls for a local artichoke variety, called the "mammola" romana, and was usually prepared during the celebration of Yom Kippur. 

Carciofi alla Giudia are a mainstay of Roman cuisine. Close your eyes and imagine yourself enjoying these delightful creations in the cobblestone streets near the river Tiber... Make sure they're fried to a crisp perfection, and serve with a generous squeeze of lemon. 

Difficulty: Medium
Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Quantity: Serves 4
Cost: Low


4 whole Roman artichokes
1 litre extra virgin olive oil
The juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Using a sharp paring knife, shave off the tough outer leaves with a spiral movement until you get to the tender pale green-yellow ones and create a bulbous shape. 
  2. Cut off about an inch off the artichoke's spiky top. Now, peel off the outer layer of the stem. Make sure to put the artichokes in a bowl of water with lemon juice as soon as they are peeled to prevent browning. Leave them to soak for 10-15 minutes. 
  3. Remove your artichokes from the lemon water and dry them carefully. To prepare them for frying, tap the flat top against the table to loosen the leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour 2 inches of oil (you can use olive oil or peanut oil as you prefer) into a large frying pan on medium-low heat.
  5. Dry the artichokes well before adding salt and pepper to the open ‘face’ of the artichoke.
  6. Carefully place the artichokes in the sizzling oil, flat side down. Press them down with tongs and allow them to simmer in the oil for 15 minutes. Stir them occasionally to prevent sticking. Turn down heat immediately if you notice any browning of the artichoke.
  7. Remove the artichokes and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  8. Turn the heat up to high and use the tongs to place the artichoke back into the sizzling oil. Press on the artichoke again and watch as it opens like a flower and turns brown and crispy. This should take just 30-40 seconds.
  9. Place them back on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Immediately transfer to a serving platter or individual plates.

Serve them hot and sizzling with lemon quarters. Delicious... just like in Rome! 


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