In this classic Italian dish, tender spring artichokes are halved and dredged in flour before being fried crisp.
When shopping for artichokes, be sure to choose ones that are small, no more than two inches in diameter, as they are more tender. — Allison Beck
The day prior to frying, clean the artichokes. Prepare a large bowl of cold water and add lemon juice. Remove the outer leaves of the artichoke until you see the inner, more tender yellow-green leaves. Cut off tips of leaves and remove any fibrous parts along the bottom of artichoke by carefully peeling the skin from the stem. Cut each artichoke in half and drop in the acidulated water. Place a plate or a towel on top to keep the artichokes submerged and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the artichokes from the water and towel dry. Heat a large pot of oil to 375 degrees. Combine the flour with plenty of salt and pepper to create a seasoned flour “batter” for dipping. Take each artichoke half by the stem end and gently smash it into the seasoned flour to open the leaves. Drop it carefully into the oil and repeat. Continue to add artichokes to the oil, making sure not to crowd them (you will probably have to work in 3 or 4 batches). Fry until deeply brown and crispy, about 5-10 minutes. Drain on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with salt.