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One of my fondest childhood memories at Thanksgiving was going to my grandmother’s house for dinner and having Italian fried artichokes. We always celebrated holidays with both sets of grandparents. My maternal Nonno, who owned a Premium Produce Market in South San Francisco, would bring my Paternal Nonni large boxes filled with vegetables and fruit. Always in the mix was a box of little gems, baby artichokes. Now as an adult, I start the holidays by cooking these while drinking glass of chardonnay that brings out mild earthy flavors in the artichokes and the bright flavors of lemon.
Bring a large pot of water, the juice of one lemon, and rind to a boil.
Clean the baby artichokes by removing all the outer petals with thorns. Then, trim the stem ends, and cut the artichokes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove the “fuzzy” centers of the artichokes. Once water is at a boil, add the artichokes and cook until the hearts are fork-tender (about 15-20 minutes). Then, drain the artichokes and thoroughly pat dry. If using frozen artichokes, thaw and pat dry.
Next, make 3 dredging stations using shallow bowls or plates. First station, combine the flour and season with salt and pepper. Second station, gently beat 2 eggs and season with salt and pepper. Third station, combine breadcrumbs, Parmigiano cheese and season with the thyme and parsley.
Dip each artichoke into the flour, followed by the egg, then the breadcrumb mixture, until all are coated. Set on a separate plate.
Fill a cast-iron skillet with a thick layer of oil (about a ¼ of an inch) and heat on medium-high. Once the oil is hot, gently place the artichokes in the skillet. Fry artichokes, flipping until both sides are golden brown. Place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain and lightly season with salt.
Serve with an aioli for dipping, or simply squeeze fresh lemon.