One of my first NYC dining experiences that I remember from being a kid was going to this great Italian Restaurant up by Carnegie Hall. The place was called "Trattoria Dell Arte" (it's still there) and was known for their huge thin crust pizzas. However, the pizza wasn't what made a lasting impression on me....it was their appetizer named "Jewish Ghetto Style Artichokes". First off....terrible name. No one wants to eat anything with the word "ghetto" in it.....however, at the time, I was with my dad (who IS Jewish) and after we had a quick laugh about the name, we decided to order the appetizer.
Best. Move. Ever.
Imagine an Artichoke and a Potato Chip got together and had a baby.....the result being these Jewish Ghetto Style Artichokes (which I have now come to know as Carciofi alla Giuida). Funny enough, this dish was started by Italian Jews (it's almost too coincidental to my background). At Trattoria Dell Arte they served these Carciofi alla Giuida with just a few lemon wedges and it was truly one of the best appetizers I've ever eaten.
So with that, I decided to make this same dish but with a Kimchi Aioli - I know the combo sounds weird, but trust in me, I will not lead you astray.
Fried Artichokes (Carciofi alla Giuida)
4 Artichoke Halves
- 2 Artichokes
- 2 Lemons
- Salt and Pepper
- Canola Oil (for frying)
- Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Squeeze one lemon into the bowl of water, stir, then throw in the squeezed lemon halves (the lemon water will keep your artichokes fresh and green till you’re ready to fry them)
With sharp scissors, remove the thorny tips from the leaves. For each artichoke, remove the bitter, fibrous end of the stem with your knife, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of stem attached to the artichoke. Use a peeler or paring knife to peel the outer skin from the remaining stem. Rub the peeled stem with fresh lemon to keep it from browning.
- Peel off 5-6 layers of external leaves from the artichoke till you reach an inner layer of leaves that are white at the base. Slice the artichoke horizontally about 3/4 inch above the base (heart) to remove the pointy top of the artichoke, leaving a flat crown of leaves on the base of the artichoke while exposing the inner purple leaves. Slice the artichoke in half lengthwise, splitting the stem and heart in half vertically to reveal the inner fuzzy choke.
- Scoop out the fuzzy spines and purple leaves from each artichoke half, leaving behind two hollowed out halves of heart. Rub the heart with lemon then place in the bowl of lemon water.
- When ready to cook, remove the artichoke halves from the lemon water. Pour the lemon water and juiced lemon halves into a large pot; you will need about 1 ½ inches of water, so if you don’t have enough, add more water to top it off. Place a steamer basket inside the pot and bring water to a boil. Place the cleaned artichoke halves into the steamer basket and cover the pot with a lid. Reduce heat to medium.
- Let the artichokes steam for 15-20 minutes till a knife can be inserted easily into the thickest part of the stem. You want the artichokes to be lightly steamed and a bit tender, but still firm.
- Place the steamed artichoke halves onto a layer of paper towels and let them drain. Heat 1 inch of olive oil to around 375 degrees F, hot enough for frying but not so hot that it smokes. While oil is heating, sprinkle the artichoke halves with salt and pepper, on all sides.
- Place the artichokes gently into the heated oil and let them fry for about 15 minutes. Turn them once halfway through cooking. Cook till artichokes are golden brown and the leaves are crisp. Remove from the oil and let them drain on paper towels or a wire rack. Serve fried artichokes warm with fresh sliced lemon wedges.
- 1/4 Cups Mayonaise
- 1/4 Cups Kimchi (solids only)
- 1 T Kimchi (liquid only)
- 1 tsps Lemon Juice (fresh)
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- In a Vitamix or Food Processor - mix all ingredients together until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.