Jewish-Style Artichokes: the Perfect Antipasto

Visit Rome in early Spring and you’ll notice that artichokes are in abundance in the Italian capital.

Between February and April, farmers in our province of  Lazio harvest millions of soft, round, and spineless artichokes, which are sold in the capital’s shops and farmers’ markets at remarkably reasonable prices. Italy is the world leader in artichoke harvesting. And our passion for the world’s most delicious edible thistle is reflected in the creativity of our recipes.

Rome has two main artichoke recipes

The first is carciofi alla romana (Roman-style Artichokes) and Carciofi alla giudia (Jewish-style Artichokes). Simple yet delicious, these artichokes are sliced open in the centre before being stuffed with a fresh mixture of parsley, mentuccia (lesser calamint), garlic, salt, and pepper. They are then positioned upright in a pan and doused in water and white wine before being braised in the oven and served warm or at room temperature.

Delicious for sure, and definitely worth trying. But they don’t compare to Jewish-style artichokes (carciofi alla giudia).

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This typical Roman-Jewish dish was born in the Rome Jewish Ghetto around the 16th century. At that time, people used to eat fried artichokes to breakfast but it has become so popular that it is now served year-round in many Roman restaurants and especially in the Ghetto.

Seasoned with salt and pepper, Jewish-style artichokes are dunked in a deep vat of olive oil. They are then deep-fried until crispy, resembling well-cooked potato chips in both taste and appearance. Only so much healthier, and so much better.

The best place to eat carciofi alla giudia is in the Jewish Ghetto (a stone’s throw from the Theatre of Marcellus on the foot of the Capitoline Hill) though you’ll find them in many restaurants throughout the Italian capital.

Here’s our tried and trusted recipe for making Jewish-Style Artichokes:


  • 4 Roman artichokes
  • 1,5l of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon juice
  • Black pepper and salt


  1. Remove the hard outer leaves with a knife as well as the reddish part of every single leaf. Your artichoke should be the shape of a round rose.
  2. At this point, you can peel off the outer skin part of the stem.
  3. Fill up a bucket with water and lemon juice and immerse the artichokes inside for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain the artichokes and dry them, then beat them upside down against each other so the leaves open.
  5. Heat the oil to 140-150°C (280-300°F) then immerse the artichokes for 10-15 minutes. They must not become too soft.
  6. Put them upside down on a tray and start opening each leaf with a fork, from the inside to the outside. The artichokes will now have the shape of a fully bloomed rose.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, and leave to rest for a few minutes.
  8. Heat the oil a little more and immerse the artichokes again, for 1-2 minutes only.
  9. Finally, transfer them to paper towels to drain and… enjoy!