Years ago, when I was in graduate school, I spent a wonderful summer in Chieti, a city in the Abruzzi region of central Italy, leading a group of high-school students. I lived with a local family, the patriarch of which we called Signor Franchi. Every day we sat down for an enormous lunch. When the pasta came out—a big bowl of it, before the main course—a hush would fall over the room. We would wait for Signor Franchi to take the first bite. He would taste it, checking to make sure it was perfectly cooked, al dente. It almost always was. Then he would shoot a smile at his wife, and we would all dig in.
- 12small artichokes
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Olive oil for deep frying
- 1cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- 2teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 10cloves garlic, crushed
- Matzoh meal or flour for dredging
Yield: 6 servings
Adapted from Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook
- Step 1
Trim the tops off the artichokes, working around the globe to retain the shape. Halve the lemons, juice them, and cover with cold water. Soak the artichokes in this lemon water until ready to use, then drain dry.
- Step 2
Hold the artichokes by the stems and bang them a little against the countertop to open the leaves.
- Step 3
Combine ½ cup of the olive oil, the parsley, basil, salt, pepper, and garlic and sprinkle the mixture between the leaves. Roll each artichoke in matzo meal or flour.
- Step 4
Heat a large pot, wok, or Dutch oven with a cover, filled with about 3 inches of oil, to sizzling. Deep-fry 2–3 artichokes at a time for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally with a tongs; they will puff up as they cook. Serve hot, sprinkled with additional sea salt.