How to cook artichokes

Today your advisors  of Mediterranean Diet present you the best way to cook the artichokes: ” Artichokes alla Giudia”

We think that the best way to cook artichokes is to cook them in the same way that most restaurants in Rome cook.

We don’t speak about stuffed artichokes but deep fried artichokes “alla Giudia” .
After cooking artichokes in ths way, the result is a tender inside, with crunchy, nutty, deep golden brown leaves that look like a sunburnt chrysanthemum.

This is a  specialty of the Rome’s famous Jewish cuisine (a wonderful combination of two cultures over centuries, made up largely of well-guarded recipes that have passed on from generation to generation with great respect for the traditions).

Artichokes generally take a lot of time to prepare, but this recipe is even simpler than most ones.

In markets in Rom, during this season, you can find amongst the piles of whole artichokes also artichokes ready to be cooked.
You don’t need to know how to clean them, but only how to cook artichokes.

In markets you find also different type of artichokes but now we help you to cook the traditionally artichokes grown in Lazio with IGP = Protected Geographical Indication status) strictly tied to the area in which it has been historically and traditionally produced.  They’ re large and round globe artichokes and to cook them you’ve


  • to remove outer leaves
  • then the artichokes are trimmed with a sharp curved knife until they look like roses
  • Then they are deep fried, whole, at first quite gently, just rolling about until tender and golden
  • For the last couple of minutes of cooking, the heat is turned up
  • and then the final touch (or, as Ada Boni calls it in her 1929 Talisman cookbook, “the little secret”): a hand is dipped into cold water and the pot of boiling hot oil is splashed with it, an explosive but guaranteed way to get crisp artichokes.
  • Another less dangerous method to cook artichokes, is to remove the artichokes momentarily from the oil, splash them with water (or white wine) and then return them to the pot for the final cooking, ensuring that crunchy, golden brown exterior.

Roman-Jewish style artichokes inspired by Ada Boni (for4) 

  • 4 whole globe artichokes, juice of 1 lemon, sea salt and pepper, olive oil for frying.
  • Prepare the artichokes by first peeling off the outer leaves that are tough and hard, beginning from the base, removing the leaves until you see they become more tender.
  • Once you’ve done this, with a small, sharp knife, begin trimming the top points of the artichoke’s remaining leaves, turning the artichoke with one hand as you do so, working from the base up.
  • The result is a rounded shape to the trimmed artichokes that at this point resemble roses.
  • Trim the stem to about 2-3 inches/5 centimetres and then, with the sharp knife, peel away the outermost layer of the stem and the bottom of the artichoke so you have just the tender inner part of the stem attached.
  • Place the artichokes in a bowl of cold water mixed with the juice of 1 lemon until they are ready for frying.
  • Before frying, drain completely and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  • Give the heads of the artichokes a little bang on the table to help open up the leaves a bit. Season the heads with salt and pepper.
  • Heat about 3 inches or 5-6cm of olive oil in a medium sized saucepan over low-medium heat and fry the artichokes gently (this should be about 300ºF or 150ºC) for about 10 minutes, starting with the head of the artichoke down at first (you will need tongs) and then letting them roll around to cook until you can feel with a fork that the base of the artichoke is tender.
  • Push the head of the artichokes onto the bottom of the saucepan to open up the leaves a little.
  • Remove artichokes momentarily, draining on paper towels. Turn the heat up higher (this time about 350ºF or 180ºC), splash the heads of the artichokes with some cold water (or white wine) and finish deep frying the artichokes, head down for a further 1-2 minutes or until crisp and a deep, deep golden brown.
  • Drain on paper towels then serve while still hot, sprinkled with salt and pepper.

The team of Mediterranean Diet invites you to the next article to find out the benefits of the Mediterranean diet recipes.

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