Monday, August 12, 2013

Marinated Grilled Artichokes

Marinated Grilled Artichokes
Serves: 6
Marinated Grilled Artichokes
Last month we spent some time in the Monterey area, coastal California – in the vicinity of Castroville, the “Artichoke Capital of the World”. In fact, California provides nearly 100% of the U.S. crop and Monterey represents 80% of that. They grow year-round here and are readily available. Their peak season is the spring thru summer with another peak mid-autumn. This is when the bumper crops make their way all over the U.S. Look for them where you live - I suspect they are lurking in your nearby grocer just waiting for you to give this recipe a try.

This summer, it seemed like everywhere we went, these thistles were featured on menus in a variety of ways.  We loved them all. I spent a lot of time thinking about artichokes during that road trip and committed to improve my traditional approach. This is the improved – and perhaps even spectacular – recipe. The addition of the marinade followed by a visit to the grill makes all the difference. You will undoubtedly love it.
Star of the show: Fresh artichoke!
When selecting an artichoke at the grocer, look for one that is heavy for its size and firm. You will want it have a healthy green color, no blemishes and compact center leaves. It stores beautifully in fridge for up to a week. 
  • 4 large artichokes
  • Juice from 2-3 lemons
  • 1 C olive oil
  • ½ C red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp herbs de Provence
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • Sauce for dipping artichokes if desired, such as roasted garlic aioli, basil pesto mayo, butter, marinade from recipe, or hollandaise 

Squeeze juice from one lemon into a large bowl of cold water. Cut the stem off each artichoke, leaving about one inch.  Snap off the bottom 3 rows of leaves and discard. Cut off top quarter to one-third of artichoke. Using scissors cut off the pointy tip of any remaining attached leaves. Cut away any dark green areas around the base. 
Cut off the pointy tips. So simple even Larue's husband can do it.
Immediately submerge into cold lemon water to prevent browning while you ready remainder of artichokes. Once done with all four, cut each lengthwise into quarters. Using a small paring knife or grapefruit spoon, cut out choke and prickly leaves from each quarter. Submerge each back into the cold lemon water as you prepare all quarters.
Scoop out the fuzzy stuff with a grapefruit spoon
Leave the cut artichokes in cold lemon water
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add artichoke quarters and boil until tender, about 8-10 minutes.  Use a fork to poke the bottom to assess tenderness. Remove, drain and let cool.
Cooked until tender
To make marinade, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, and juice from ¾ of a lemon, salt, pepper, herbs De Provence and garlic. Pour over cooked artichokes. At this point leave on counter at room temperature all day. I often cook the artichokes the night before and marinate in the morning, leaving them all day on the counter or in the fridge all day.
Cooked artichokes in the marinade
Heat grill to medium-high. Place artichokes on grill, brushing frequently with marinade. Grill until you see char marks and they are warmed through, about 5-10 minutes per side.
Grill on medium-high to char them. The marinade can flare, so be careful.
Place the artichoke quarters on a serving platter, squeeze that last ¼ lemon over all and place them surrounding a dip of your choosing. Serve warm or room temperature. 
Grilled artichokes on display
I used a store-bought roasted garlic aioli for dipping, which was fabulous. Other options are listed above.  But, truth be told, these babies would be great on their own without anything at all. If you have been hesitant to eat artichokes in the past, this is your conversion recipe. Serve with a dry white wine like a chardonnay and enjoy!


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