Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
How Fried Artichokes Became a Roman-Jewish Staple — Dining on a Dime

How Fried Artichokes Became a Roman-Jewish Staple — Dining on a Dime

(upbeat music) – Ciao.
– Lucas, ciao. – Umberto, nice to meet you. – (speaks in foreign language) – My family is an original
Jewish Roman family. Nonna Betta, she was my grandma. – Some of the food
traditions in the ghetto are now accepted by the whole country as Roman food, or Italian food. – Jewish people, is Roman
people, no more, no less. The Jewish community exists since second century before Christ. – And they create a cuisine
– Very poor cuisine. – Very poor cuisine
– Very, very poor. – But it still exists today.
– Yes. – And it’s very delicious. (Umberto laughs)
Right? – (Umberto) The recipes
that you can find here are the same that Nonna
Betta cooked at home. The Jewish-style artichoke, the symbol of a Jewish Roman cuisine, is a way to cook it that
the Jewish Roman invented. Because they can’t use fat from animal. First, you have to clean
it in the right way. You have to peel it,
like sharpening a pencil, in a spiral. Cook it two times. The first is under the oil. And then, you burn just the outside. – [Lucas] The outer leaves.
– [Umberto] To make it crunchy.
– [Lucas] Nice. (upbeat music) – Here we go, perfect timing. Okay, can we just do anchovies. Anchovies are just small, salt water fish on the bottom of the food chain. (upbeat music) Always like to have acid on fried food. Those are really good, nice and meaty. What you’re gonna notice
is I also do the same treatment with this fried cod. Very tasty, holds up well with frying. Dense, flaky white fish, deep fried. The anchovies’ gonna be
sort of an oilier fish, but this is nice and meaty. Now, artichokes, I love artichokes. They’re in the thistle family. It’s basically a blossom
that hasn’t flowered yet. (restaurant guests chatter) This is really tasty, I love
these fried outer leaves. And when you get into the really tender leaves in the middle,
almost creamy flavor. That’s a good artichoke. I’ll move on to this
zucchini and these blossoms. Zucchini, of course, is a summer squash. It may also be called a
marrow in some countries. These are nice. A little bit of acid, tastes like it has a little
bit of vinegar in it. This is just a squash blossom. But then they stuff them. They’re stuffed with cheese. Makes it delicious. The squash blossom is pretty light. It’s delicate, nutty, and then that cheese sort of gives it some heft. Jewish Roman cuisine is very
much a part of Roman cuisine. Where we are right now, this was created by the
Papacy, by the Pope. It was actually one of the last ghettos in Europe, until the
ghettos were reintroduced by the Nazis in the 1930’s. And, I mean it was, of course, terrible, inhumane conditions. There were literal gates
in this neighborhood that were locked at sunset
so people couldn’t escape. Conditions just sort
of got worse and worse. What does that mean food-wise? Well, it means that options were limited. You notice a lot of fried food, and that is again because of
the impoverished conditions. They fried a lot of their
food to give it flavor. What was referred to as “cucina povera” literally means “poor food.” And this was food that poor people ate ’cause there wasn’t money
to afford better things. But what happened inevitably was that the traditions that were established in the Roman ghetto, centuries ago, became incorporated into the
pantheon of normal foods. So much like Jewish food in New York, bagels, are now just
considered New York food. A lot of this stuff,
like the fried artichoke, is now just considered Roman cuisine, even though it was very
distinctively Jewish Roman from that time in the ghetto, between the 1500s and then
finally, in the 1800s, when the ghetto was abolished. And now at Nonna Betta,
there’s a lot of tourists, there’s a lot of people
from all over the world. They come to try this food,
cause it’s really good. (upbeat music) I really hope you enjoyed the episode of Dining on a Dime from Nonna Betta, in the old Roman ghetto
neighborhood of Rome, Italy. If you’d like to watch
more, please click here. (upbeat music)

84 comments on “How Fried Artichokes Became a Roman-Jewish Staple — Dining on a Dime

  1. i grow artichokes and this is the fam's fav recipe for them, the nutty flavor of the crispy parts is delicious

  2. Lucas is still in Rome! Check out the rest of the season here:

  3. Hi Lucas, did you ever eat anything that you didnt like? please mix it up a little bit, it will be more interesting

  4. On my way out, I forgot to hit like. I came back just to watch this again and Like the vid. Grazie Lucca, grazie!

  5. Since they can’t use animal fat they’re probably frying in olive oil with other vegetable oils mixed in so it doesn’t smoke. And yeah, it’s not changed as often as McDonald’s but we’re not eating McNuggets.

  6. It’s worst episode, because of the quality of the food. It’s doesn’t look good, specially oil used to frying

  7. In the ghetto you can find a spectacular dish called rigatoni a la pajata, which is basically rigatoni with tomato sauce and calf intestins that were not emptied of their chyme. Will Lucas have a chance to try this very special dish?

  8. You shoul'd have given a chance to fried cow brain…it is the most delicious fried thing you will ever taste!!!

  9. Thanks for covering this Lucas! Heard a lot about it after the NYT article, but had not seen how they were made

  10. I have never in my life seen oil that dirty being used for cooking.. so much so that when he was dipping the heart into it I thought it was some dark caramel/sugar reduction

  11. Oh my god, have they ever changed that oil? Disgusting! And you could tell that Lucas wasn't into any of the food at his table. He must've seen those fryers before he ate.

  12. Well they did say that the dishes are slum inspired. Maybe cooking food in that oil just some sort of essence in flavor…. eh…. or maybe not

  13. Complaints about the color of the oil, but no complaints about taste. For all we know, there's a perfectly good explanation. The oil in the deep fryer is a lighter color. The oil in the stockpot must have something in it giving it that color. Whatever they're doing seems to work well, and I don't see any safety hazards. Very interesting episode. I loved the history. I note that today caloric vegetables fried in vegetable oil remain a staple of the diets of the poor (fried potatoes, etc.)

  14. Two things firstly Bacala is salt cod, which is really very different from normal wet cod which is called Merluzzo. The cod is heavily coated in salt and dried, it is then re-hydrated and washed many times to de salivate it, the result is a totally different taste and texture.

    Secondly people are complaining about the oil. If you look you'll see the anchovies are being cooked in a different oil to the artichokes, and it's quite clean. I believe that the oil used for the carciofi is darker because enzymes in the artichoke change the colour of the heated oil. It's not darkened through over use but because of what it is cooking.

  15. this channel is infested with dead carcasses yet everyone is freaking out about the oil. alright people

  16. I don't get what's with all the dirty oil remarks. artichoke dirty oil or anchovies dirty oil. artichoke dirty oil is expected because some parts of the artichoke are dark and when you fry it, the color falls off. think peepo think.

  17. Lucas love your professionalism your body language is very telling though about the flavor of this food

  18. WTF, i'm over here thinking, "Why the fuck are they boiling it in soysauce, Isn't it a roman-jewish dish?" Then it turns out to be dirty ass oil….

  19. That oil looks very dark… Which is weird because in Italy we have very strict rules on food hygiene. While I never tasted those dishes in that restaurant I did taste them somewhere else and I have to say are delicious when properly made.

  20. Anyone who is commenting on the oil does not understand cooking, especially in a restaurant setting. An old batch of seasoned oil, slowly replenished and carefully separated from any particulate matter that could cause it to oxidize, is more valuable than gold. It's likely that oil stays above the boiling point of water 18 hours a day or more; nothing will ever grow in there. Case in point; there is a deep-fried burger place in Memphis, TN called Dyer's that has been using the same batch of oil for 106 years. People cross state lines for those burgers.

  21. The jews ate them because they were cheap! Did you know there are more jews in rome than all other parts of Italy combined? Many of them have Catholic names like Russo.

  22. I went to Nonna Betta a couple of years ago when I was in Rome. The food was fantastic. Great video on the food and little bit on the history behind it.

  23. Whoever commenting about the oil have to remember that this is "poor cuisine". The restaurant is just try to make it as authenthic as possible.

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