Artichokes in the Ghetto
Carciofi alla Giudea / Artichokes Jewish Style
Carciofi alla Giudea rolls off the tongue a lot easier that Artichokes Jewish Style so I will refer to them by that name in this post.
Now if I had to name my all time favourite artichoke dish, this one would have to be in the top two or three to choose from. Even though I don’t have children, I reckon they’d be a hit with the kids. The leaves become golden and crunchy and are fun to eat, kind of like eating potato crisps. You can work your way around the crispy leaves of the artichoke until you reach the soft tender heart. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t loved these artichokes. They are absolutely unique and instil excitement and curiosity into the eating experience, (or maybe that’s just me).
For my money, the best place to have these artichokes is in the old Jewish areas of Rome. The obvious place to go is Via de Portico d’Ottavio, which was the epicentre of the ancient Roman ghetto and still is today. Carciofi alla Giudea is the signature dish of the entire street, which makes this a very exciting part of town. I’ve never seen a place where this dish is taken so seriously. This is the area you should go to if you are looking for the kosher restaurants in Rome with plenty of artichoke dishes on all the menus. Two places that you can choose from on this street (MAP) are Giggetto and La Taverna del Ghetto. Have a look at the video on La Taverna del Ghetto and you’ll see the owner’s mamma making this dish. Don’t worry if you can’t understand Italian, the pictures speak for themselves.
Another place that cannot be overlooked is Pizzeria ai Marmi in Trastevere (MAP). Try the vegetarian antipasto and grab a couple of these artichokes between friends as you wait for your pizza to cook. Don’t forget to have a look just how the pizza makers operate when they are in full swing.
These are probably the easiest artichokes to prepare. All you’ll need is:
plenty of olive oil
For the best instructions on how to clean and prepare the artichoke, have a look at the video below.
To clean and prepare the artichoke you can also have a look at my step by step instructions. It’s important to keep the stem on for this dish and it isn’t necessary to worry about cleaning out the spiky fur on the inside of the artichoke. If there is any in there you can avoid during the eating.
Coat the freshly cut artichoke flesh with lemon juice so as they don’t darken before cooking.
The unique thing about this dish is that it gets fried twice.
Heat enough olive oil to deep fry the entire artichoke. It will bob around and want to float so occasionally press them down into the oil with a fork to ensure that they cook all over.
Once golden remove them from the oil with a fork or slotted spoon and place them on some kitchen towel to absorb any dripping oil.
You can prepare as many as you need in this way and allow them to cool.
Once cool enough to handle, gently spread the leaves apart on the artichoke making sure they still remain attached. The next time they fry, these open leaves will become crispy.
When you are ready to serve, heat the oil slightly higher and immerse the artichokes in the oil a second time.
Remove them when they are golden brown.
Place on some kitchen towel again and immediately sprinkle with salt.
Serve them as hot as possible.
Tell me what you think.
I’ll be back soon with another dish from the ghetto.
For another brief article about artichokes in Rome check here on New York Times.
Rome; A Photographic Portrait follow.
Through a foggy window.
Rome is generally large scale.
Crossing a bridge, looking through a very foggy window.
Tourists on a drizzly forum tour.