To quote the author – Edda Servi Machlin, “This is the most famous of all Italian Jewish foods. It originated with the Roman Jews, and owes its fame to having been served at a restaurant in the Roman ghetto where it was discovered and quickly adopted by connoisseurs of excellent food all over Europe. Ultimately it found its way into many Italian cookbooks.
My mother, a Jewish woman who was born and raised in Rome, prepared especially delicious Carciofi all Guidia (better than you could find in any restaurant!). I watched her prepare them, and have prepared them myself, practically all my life.
Here in my mother’s technique in detail”. Trim the artichokes as detailed in “How to clean artichokes- Jewish style” and keep them in lemon water till you are ready to use them.
- 12 medium artichokes, fresh
- 2 lemons; juice and rinds
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Cups olive oil
- Drain the two artichokes and, holding one in each hand by the stem and bottom, gently hit the leafy parts against each other until the leaves of one open up a little.
- Place the opened artichoke, bottom up, on a board or a working surface.
- Drain another artichoke from its bath and repeat what you did with the first two, and line up the one that opens next to the last one. Continue until all the artichokes are opened up.
- The last one will have to be tapped against the board.
- In a small bowl, combine salt and pepper.
- Take one artichoke at a time and sprinkle all over, including between the leaves, with salt and pepper mixture.
- Heat the oil in a deep earthenware or similar saucepan.
- Cook as many artichokes at a time as fit in one layer over moderate heat for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bottoms and the sides are well browned.
- During the cooking period, sprinkle some cold water over the artichokes to produce steam, so that the inside will be cooked, too.
- To do this the authentic way, have a bowl containing cold water near the range.
- Dip your closed fist in the water and then open it forcefully over the roasting artichokes. Repeat sprinkling several times.
- When all the artichokes are done, transfer them to a plate, bottom side down to keep the moisture in.*
- Pick them up at the bottom with a fork and dip them, one by one in the hot oil again, pressing the leaves to the bottom of the pan.
- The artichokes will open up like roses and the leaves will become golden and crisp.
- Serve immediately.