These fried artichokes, or carciofi fritti, are a classic yet simple Italian appetizer or side dish, made with a lightly seasoned flour coating and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
These crisp fried artichokes are an appetizer staple all over Italy, usually served in a cone of paper to go with a great roasted meat dish. For a dream combination, we recommend these with a roasted pork loin. This recipe calls for a quick dredging in flour before frying.–Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar
☞ Table of Contents
Fried Artichokes ~ Carciofi Fritti
- Deep fry thermometer
- Juice of 1 lemon plus 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges, for serving
- 10 baby artichokes* or 5 medium artichokes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for serving
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for serving
- Mild vegetable oil or olive oil for frying
- Fill a large bowl with water and add the juice of 1 lemon. Snap off the outer leaves from the artichokes until you reach the pale green leaves. Trim the edges of the remaining leaves. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the stems to remove the woody outermost layer. Halve the artichokes lengthwise, through the stem. Using a spoon, remove the inedible hairy leaves (the chokes).
- Cut the artichokes into quarters and as soon as you’re done trimming them plop the artichokes in the lemon water to keep them from oxidizing and discoloring.
- In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper. Line a platter or baking sheet with a brown paper bag.
- In a high-sided skillet or Dutch oven, add enough vegetable oil to reach a depth of 2 inches, and heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. (If you want to be precise about things, you’re looking for the oil to reach about 350°F (167°C) and no less than that.)
- Working in small batches, dredge the artichokes in the seasoned flour, carefully add to the hot oil, and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, flipping them occasionally with tongs, until golden and crisp. Move to the brown paper bag to drain. Season with salt and serve warm with the lemon wedges.
*Why is light batter better on fried artichokes?While we could have dredged these lovely little green things in a thick, gloppy batter and fried them until all that you can taste is the thick, crunchy, bready crust, we didn’t. Instead, we went with this approach to fried artichokes, which tosses them with little more than a whisper of flour before frying them in hot oil until shatteringly crisp and soul-sighingly tender.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Ever since I visited Italy and had wonderful fried artichokes, I've been wanting to try them at home. This fried artichokes recipe was less complicated than others I've seen, and the results were delicious!
In Italy, they use baby artichokes, which aren't available where I live. So I used regular-size artichokes, and they were still delicious (though I'd highly recommend baby artichokes if available).
I trimmed the top edges of the leaves. The oil took 5 minutes to get hot enough, and the artichokes took 7 to 8 minutes to turn crisp and golden brown. I must admit that my tasters and I stood in the kitchen and ate them as soon as they were cool enough to handle! This is a recipe that I will definitely make again.
Originally published June 8, 2015