Carciofi alla Guidea Recipe


4 globe artichokes, heavy and firm with compact leaves 

Olive oil for frying 

Coarse kosher salt  

4-5 fresh lemons, halved, for preparation and serving 


Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Squeeze the juice of two of the lemons into the bowl of water; stir. Add the squeezed lemons to the bowl and set aside. Have remaining cut lemons, cut-side down, on a cutting board nearby. Rinse artichokes under cold water. Pat them dry with paper towels. Using kitchen shears or a very large sharp knife, cut off an inch of the thorny tips from the leaves. Cut off a half-inch of the stem, and peel what remains. Dip artichokes into lemon water bath. Transfer to paper towels. Beginning at the top of the stem and working your way up the artichoke, break or peel off the outer leaves of the artichoke until you reach the light green, tenderer leaves. Dip artichokes in lemon water again before continuing.

With a serrated knife or sharp chef’s knife, slice the artichoke horizontally about ¾- inch above the base (heart) to remove the pointy top of the artichoke, leaving a flat crown of leaves on the base of the artichoke while exposing the inner purple leaves. 

 Slice the artichoke in half lengthwise (or into quarters), splitting the stem and heart in half vertically to reveal the inner fuzzy choke. Scoop out the fuzzy spines and purple leaves from each artichoke half with a serrated grapefruit spoon or melon baller, leaving behind two hollowed out halves of heart, each with a small crown of flat leaves. 

 Rub the artichokes well with a lemon half and then submerge them in lemon water while heating the oil.  

In a deep, medium saucepan or deep fryer, heat at least 4 inches of olive oil to 220 degrees. Drain and pat dry with paper towels as many artichoke halves as will fit in your pot without touching each other.  

Set a layer of paper towels near your pot. Carefully lower artichokes into the hot oil and fry for 12-15 minutes, or until they are tender when pricked with a fork. Using a slotted spoon or spider, lift artichokes onto the stack of paper towels, cut side down. When cool enough to handle, gently open leaves a bit.  

Raise the heat of the oil to 375 degrees and lower half of the artichokes back into hot oil. Fry for an additional 30-45 seconds, or until crisp and deep brown, then lift out of oil with a slotted spoon onto paper towels. Season the fried artichokes with plenty of coarse kosher salt. Repeat with remaining artichoke halves.

Serve artichokes on small plates, garnished with lemon wedges. 

Makes 4-8 appetizer servings.