Recipe: Carciofi alla Giudia — Jewish-style fried artichokes

These gorgeous, golden, fried flowers are a Roman speciality and a very seasonal treat

  • place PRE 20 minutes approx
  • place COOK 20 - 30 minutes
  • place SERVES Makes 4 artichokes
  • printicon

These are a labour of love, but so worth the effort. For all the effort that goes into them, it’s worth cooking a big batch. They also freeze very well.


  • Clean and trim the artichokes (there are full instructions in Silvia’s book or at Squeeze lemon juice into a bowl of water and place the prepped artichokes in there.

  • When they are all prepared, drain, shaking off as much liquid as possible, and pat dry. Gently tap each flower, stem up, to loosely open the centre where the petals meet. Smear a little salt and pepper wherever you can reach inside, and around the outside.

  • Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 150°C or fill a large, deep, heavy-based saucepan or casserole with oil to a depth of 4–5cm and warm over a medium heat until hot. (If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil is hot enough by dropping in a cube of bread: it should float not sink and sizzle immediately.)

  • Deep-fry the artichokes for 15–20 minutes, stem down. They should
    fit comfortably (but if not, cook in batches) sitting on the bottom of the fryer or pan, ¾ covered with oil, and not float around. Gently rotate every 2–3 minutes, always stem downwards, until the heart is tender. If a fork inserted into the heart comes out easily when you test them, they’re done. If you’re cooking them on the hob and they brown too fast, reduce the heat.

  • Place the cooked — but still partially closed — artichokes in a sieve to drain the oil and leave to cool slightly. You can set them aside to finish off later — if you are serving them within a few hours, keep them at room temperature; if not, cover and refrigerate.

  • Ten minutes before serving, gently open the leaves of the artichokes where the petals meet, using your hands or two forks. Reheat the oil, this time to about 170C. Place the opened artichokes in the hot oil, stem down. Fry for 1–2 minutes, then carefully turn them so the stems stick up out of the pan – they will sizzle. Fry for another minute or so, until the leaves turn golden and crispy. A few leaves may become separated, but don’t worry — they make delicious artichoke “chips”.

  • Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a sieve to drain the oil. After a minute, transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil. Serve immediately.

Find step-by-step instructions how to prepare artichokes in Silvia's book ‘Jewish Flavours of Italy’ (Green Bean Books)


4 fresh artichokes, ideally Cimarolo, Romanesco or Mammole
2 lemons, quartered
Olive oil or sunflower oil, for deep-frying
Sea salt and black pepper

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive