Soak the bread in water, then remove from the water and squeeze out remaining liquid. Set aside.
Cut each trimmed artichoke into 2 pieces and hold in a water bath to which the lemon juice has been added until ready to use.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the beef, soaked bread, 1 egg, 1 clove garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and mix well to combine. Form the mixture into 24 oval-shaped balls of about 1-inch diameter.
Remove the artichoke pieces from the acidulated water and pat dry with a paper towel. Place 1 meatball between 2 pieces of artichoke, pressing to hold together. Roll each "sandwich" in flour, patting off the excess, and lay each on a sheet tray.
In a small bowl, beat the remaining 2 eggs and add a pinch of salt.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 1 cup olive oil over high heat until just smoking. Dip the artichokes in the egg mixture, let the excess drip off, and cook in the hot oil until they are golden brown on all sides. Work in batches if necessary, to avoid lowering the temperature of the oil. Remove the artichokes from the oil with a spider or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
In a skillet large enough to hold the artichokes in a single layer, arrange the artichokes and add the tomatoes and their juices, the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, the remaining clove of garlic, the onion, parsley and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook over medium heat, lowering if necessary to avoid scorching, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the liquids are of a fairly thick consistency. Serve immediately.
Recipe copyright 2000, Mario Batali. All Rights Reserved.