Fried artichokes

fried artichokes

Fried artichokes are a real delicacy, crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.

If you have been in Rome chances are you have eaten fried artichokes. The Ghetto in the city center if full of amazing restaurants that serve jewish-roman cuisine and fried artichokes (called Carciofi alla giudia) are always on the menu. These fried artichokes from the jewish tradition are fried whole, twice. The result is a super crispy artichokes, a real treat. The other famous recipe in Rome is Carciofi alla romana, artichokes are cooked with wine, oil and lesser calamint.

Fried battered artichokes are a staple on Christmas Eve in many households in Rome. As soon as I smell fried artichokes my mind takes me back to all the Christmas Eves I spent in my parent’s house. I always grabbed some before dinner, actually everyone did the same, and by the time the dinner was on the table the amount of artichokes had halved!

The key to making the perfect fried artichokes are… the artichokes! Both quality and tenderness are very important. Artichokes are in season from the end of December to late May, in the place where I live March through April it the perfect time to buy locally grown artichokes. Here grows a local variety called “romanesco” (from Rome). This artichoke, grown in Cerveteri and along the coast north of Rome, even seems to have origins dating back to Etruscan times.

This variety is undeniable one of the tastier artichoke, big and round, and when super fresh is tender and perfect to eat raw in a salad of to be fried in batter or whole.

Artichoke from Rome

FUN FACT: did you know that artichokes are the buds of the flower? Many farmer leave artichokes well over their peak season and leave them in the field to blossom, eventually they sell the flowers in the flowers market.

Fried artichokes: health facts

Artichokes are very good for our health, rich in fibers and antioxidants and are very good for our liver. They also contain magnesium and potassium, folate  along with vitamin K and C. They are helpful in fighting NAFLD. Moreover the fibers of this tasty bud also nourish the good bacteria in our intestine and help strengthen our immune system.

Although fried artichokes may seem  unhealthy, you can reduce the bad effects of the frying by using a good heat-resistant oil that does not oxidize easily. You can also cook fried artichokes in an air fryer. Anyway frying cooks the artichokes for a limited amount of time and this helps in retaining the nutrients that are damaged by long exposure to heat. I recommend trying a mix of regular flour and soy or chickpea flour to make the batter. The result is super yummy (and you will add protein too)!

Tips and tricks

Buy artichokes with their stems attached! The stems are tender and flavorful and are ideal to make soups, risotto or you can make a cream with them to use on pasta or bruschetta and crostini. To use the stems remove the outer stringy layer and keep the white core.

artichoke stems

How to make fried battered artichokes: Ingredients for 4/6 servings

  • 4 artichokes
  • 80gr of regular flour and 20gr of soy or other chickpea flour
  • 2gr of baking powder
  • 200ml of water
  • salt to taste
  • oil to fry (you can use extra virgin olive oil, or sunflower oil, ghee is also good for frying)

Method

Step 1
Prepare the batter by mixing the water, flour and baking powder. However do not over mix it, some lumps are actually better than a fluid batter. Then put in the fridge until you’re ready to fry.

Step 2
Prepare a bowl with cold water and lemon. Clean the artichokes by removing the external leaves until they’re a pale green, then remove the external green stringy part from the bottom. Lastly cut the top of the artichoke. Soon after cleaning them, put the artichokes in the water to avoid discoloring.

Step 3
Heat up abundant oil in a deep pan to 160°. Drain the artichokes, slice them into 1/4inch slices and pad them dry with a paper towel.

Step 4
Take the batter out of the fridge,  deep the slices in the batter and deep fry them for 3/4 minutes.
Serve hot with a sprinkle of salt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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