Carciofi alla Giudia (Deep Fried artichoke)

Ingredients:

• 4 large globe artichokes

• 2 lemons

• Kosher salt and fresh pepper (to taste)

• 1 ¾ cups olive oil (not extra-virgin)

Instructions:

Select a deep saucepan just wide enough to accommodate the artichokes. Fill halfway with cold water; add a half teaspoon of salt and the juice of one lemon.

Remove the first three rows of outer leaves from the artichokes by pulling them downward, leaving their tender bases attached to the head. Then using a paring knife or scissors to cut off the dark green upper-half from the remaining leaves, rotating the artichoke as you go. Remove the top third of each head and the fuzzy inner choke with the knife or a grapefruit spoon. Peel the stalk up and over the base. Add each artichoke to the lemon water as you go in order to prevent browning.

Bring the artichokes to a steady boil. Cover the pot loosely. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels and set a cake rack over it. After 20 minutes, pierce the base of a couple of artichokes with a fork; if it penetrates easily they are done, if not, return to the boil and check at frequent intervals. When done they should be tender yet firm.

Place artichokes head down on the rack and squeeze each gently to remove excess water. Then gently spread their leaves open. Clean and dry the saucepan, add the olive oil and heat to 370F. Using long-handled tongs, slowly place each artichoke head down in the hot oil, being very careful as the water retained in the artichoke will make the oil spatter. When crisp and golden, drain the artichokes on the rack. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and serve warm with lemon slices.