To prepare them, the vegetables are "carefully trimmed of anything inedible, but not dechoked, and dropped whole in boiling oil until the outer leaves are crisp and the heart tender (a metaphor for Romans?)," mbfant says. "There is not a great deal of choke until quite late in the season, and anything inedible inside can easily be removed by the diner. There is no steaming involved. Restaurants fry them ahead, then pop them in a second fryer just before serving, then press them gently, also to let some of the oil run out."
The big, leafy, deep-fried artichokes make for a great presentation, but "for some of the [same] flavor and crunch, but not the spectacular presentation, you can slice raw artichokes hearts, dip in flour, egg, flour and fry in olive oil," says escondido123. "Sprinkle with salt and a squeeze of lemon and eat while hot. (I once made a large batch of them and layered them as a replacement for the pasta in a vegetarian lasagna—to die for.)"
Discuss: Carciofi alla giudia