Much like finding crawdads in Louisianna, brisket in Texas and barbeque in Memphis, you can find specialties in each Italian region. Rome is no exception. It also has something really special; the Jewish Ghetto. It is very small and virtually abandoned come dusk on Friday. It has a cuisine of its own. The most famous item is possibly the fried artichoke.
Carciofi alla Giudia
4-6 chokeless or baby artichokes
olive oil for frying
salt and pepper
italian parsley (for garnish)
Fill a large bowl with cool water. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the water and stir. trim each artichoke, removing all tough outer leaves and trimming the stem (do not remove entirely). Toss the trimmed artichoke into the lemon water to prevent discoloration.
*if you cannot find chokeless or baby artichokes, you can use any artichoke, however, you must trim it to the tender leaves, cut off the prickly tops and remove the choke prior to placing in the water.
Heat at least 3-inches of oil on the stovetop to 325 degrees. Meanwhile, remove the artichokes from the water and place on paper towel to dry. Place each artichoke stem side up on the counter and gently push to flatten, being careful not to break the leaves. Place in small batches in the hot oil and cook until soft, but not browned. Remove from oil and place on paper towel or kitchen paper to drain and cool. Allow to sit at least 30 minutes, and up to 3 hours. Just before serving, heat the oil to 375 degrees and fry the artichokes, careful not to crowd the pan, until they are browned and very crispy. depending on the size of the artichokes this can take as little as 5 minutes and as long as 10 minutes.
remove from pan, drain slightly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve with a garnish of chopped parsley and a lemon wedge.