Much-loved in Italy and France, fried cardoons are among author Mireille Johnston's favorite dishes.
2 1⁄2 lbs. cardoons
Juice of 3 lemons
1 1⁄2 cups flour
1. Wash cardoons; remove and discard outer stalks. Trim thorns and stringy fibers. Cut cardoons into 2" pieces; place in a pot of salted water with lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until cardoons are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool, and dry with paper towels.
2. Beat eggs. Place flour in a separate bowl, add cardoons, and toss. Heat 1" oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dip a few in eggs, then drop into hot oil. Fry in batches until golden, about 6 minutes; drain. Sprinkle with parmigiano-reggiano.