Grilled Artichokes [recipe]

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Artichoke season is in full swing! Well, being so close to Castroville (aka the “Artichoke Center of the World”), us Californians can get artichokes year round. But in the spring time, that’s when we can get awesomely tender baby artichokes and meaty jumbo ones in the farmers markets, and I’ve been buying my weights in them over the last few weeks. My favorite way to enjoy this delicious flower bud is to keep it simple: steam and then a quick char on the grill, drizzle with a garlicky balsamic vinaigrette. The hubby likes to enjoy it with aioli or plain Japanese mayonnaise. Either way, there is nothing more satisfying after working (and eating) your way through petal by petal, finally getting to that meaty center, the heart of the artichoke. YUM!
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By the way, artichokes are rich in antioxidant and loaded with vitamins. It can help to lower cholesterol and blood sugar, has anti-inflammatory property, and aids liver damage repair. But obviously, enjoying the artichokes with lots of mayo and delicious aioli will have an adverse effect (but so gooooood!). You can also boil the petals (or whole artichoke) in water, to make artichoke tea. It’s fairly mild and sweet in taste which makes it a pretty easy-to-drink herbal tea.

I love this tutorial for how to prep, cook, and eat an artichoke.

    1. Cut the thorns off of the tips of leaves.
    2. trim 3/4″ off the top of artichoke
    3. pull off smaller leaves on the stem
    4. Cut excess stem, peel the rest of stem with vegetable peeler.
    5. Rinse in cold water.
    6. Ready for steam, or boil. Both takes about 25 minutes.

Note: To test for done-ness: the petals should peel off easily, or no resistance when inserting a knife in stem.  If the artichokes are to be grilled, 20 minutes will do. A little bit undercooked is fine as they will continue to cook on the grill. (I prefer to steam the artichokes. I only boil them when I want to keep the cooking liquid as artichoke tea for drinking.)

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Grilled Artichokes

  1. Heat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Cut the steamed artichokes in half. You can now use a spoon to remove the “choke” aka the fuzzy part just above the heart, or you can do that later when you’re eating.
  3. Brush the cut side with a little olive oil.
  4. Place the artichokes cut-side down on the grill, cover and grill for 5 minutes until nice grill marks are formed.
  5. Serve with your choice of dipping sauce. Sometimes the artichokes are so sweet and fresh, just hit them with a pinch of salt and a splash of lemon juice, no sauces are needed!

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Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried rosemary, minced
  • salt and pepper

Mix and whisk all ingredients together.

Lemon Aioli

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Top with a pinch of paprika or cayenne for some color or a little kick.

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