This recipe is adapted from Anna Dente Ferracci’s recipe for whole fried artichokes served at her restaurant, Osteria di San Cesario, outside of Rome. Known as Sora (“sister”) Anna, this celebrated chef and her mother, Sora Maria, are queens of the Italian fried artichoke.
The high acidity of a Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi or Soave Classico mirrors the leanness of lemon and artichoke, while the nuttiness rounds out the dish and gives it dimension; recommended Verdicchio producers include Fazi Battaglia, Sartarelli and Umani Ronchi; for Soave, recommended producers include Pieropan, Gini and Tommasi.
- 10 tender, small artichokes with stalks
- 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
- 4 cups (1-liter bottle) extra virgin olive oil
- Flour, for coating
To prepare the artichokes: With the artichoke on its side, cut off the top half and discard. You should see tender yellow leaves and the pink spiky choke at the center. Snap off the tough dark green outer leaves until you reach the tender ones. With a knife, slice off the woody skin on the outside of the stock, leaving about two inches from the base. Cut the artichoke into halves, then quarters and remove any thistly parts. Cut into eighths or thin wedges and place in a large bowl of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. (Artichokes oxidize when cut and putting them in lemon water will stop them from turning brown.)
To fry the artichokes: Pour the olive oil into a fryer or heavy pot and place over low heat. Coat a ceramic plate with a layer of flour. Gently press the moist artichoke wedges directly into the flour so they are covered evenly. The oil is ready when a drop of water crackles and fizzles to evaporation: Never let the oil get so hot it starts to smoke. Add the floured artichoke wedges to the oil, in batches to avoid overcrowding, and fry until crisp and golden. With a slotted spoon, transfer the artichokes as they are done to paper towels to drain briefly. Arrange the artichokes on a serving platter and serve at once, with salt.