These are a delightful surprise and worth the time. You really do remove all the leaves. This is based on the Italian fritto misto, or mixed fry, that includes small pieces of battered and fried meats, fish, and vegetables, especially artichokes. Keep fried artichokes warm between batches on a rack in a jelly-roll pan in a 225° oven for up to 30 minutes.
Cut 3 inches from top of each artichoke, using a serrated knife. Discard top portion. Remove and discard leaves from bottom portions of artichokes. Trim green skin from sides and stems, using a paring knife, being careful to leave stem ends intact. Cut each artichoke lengthwise into fourths. Remove and discard chokes.
Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat over medium-high heat to 350°.
Combine cornmeal, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. Whisk together buttermilk and egg in another bowl.
Toss artichokes in flour. Dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture, shaking off excess.
Fry artichokes, in batches, in hot oil 5 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels. Serve with Mayo Mixtures.
Fast Fried Artichokes: Substitute 2 (14-oz.) cans artichoke bottoms, rinsed and drained, for fresh artichokes. Reduce salt to 1 tsp. Pat artichokes dry with paper towels; cut each into fourths. Proceed with recipe as directed, beginning with Step Makes 4 to 6 servings; Prep: 15 min., Fry: 5 min. per batch.