The carciofi alla giudia is beautiful. It is definitely intended to be savored visually as well as gastronomically. The Italian artichoke is graciously large and full headed. For the preparation of this dish, it is cleaned, and the hard inedible leaves removed. Then the artichoke is pressed into a beautiful large and flattened flower, something like a daisy but more imposing and elegant. After it’s flattened it’s soaked in water and lemon. This helps to soften its texture, and the lemon has an anti-oxidation effect so that the artichoke doesn’t turn black. Finally, it’s fried in oil at high temperature for approximately ten minutes, until it’s crispy on the outside and soft inside. It must be turned and fried evenly on both sides. The outcome is dauntingly large. I learned that when put in oil, it expands into an even larger flower. When I was served this famed dish, I was truly surprised at the enormous size of the deep-fried beauty — I had never seen or eaten an artichoke this large and gorgeous. Wow. I could really see and taste the achievement of the past hundred years’ of perfecting this dish.