It’s odd, that even though we love artichokes, neither of us have ever cooked thistles. So this was our first foray, and we decided to grill them. After a bit of online research, we happened upon this approach from Simply Recipes. Apparently, the trick is to steam them first.
Artichokes take a long time to cook, and like moist heat, so it’s best to just grill them at the end for the grill marks and smoky flavor—which it did in spades! Steaming, instead of boiling, assures the artichokes don’t get too soggy from the water and they stay dry enough to get good browning on the grill.
After we brought them home from the grocery store I had to read up on how to store them for a few days. Well let me tell you, everybody seems to have their own opinion. But my first mistake was cutting a good portion of the stems off so that the large globes would fit into a plastic ziploc. That is a no-no, BTW.
According to Williams Sonoma, sprinkle artichokes with a few drops of water and store in a perforated plastic bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 1 week. If cooking them on the day you buy them, leave them at cool room temperature. Once opened, marinated artichoke hearts will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Let’s just say prepping these puppies was a little labor intensive, especially scooping out the fuzzy chokes. Instead of rubbing all of the cut areas, including each leaf to prevent the artichokes from turning brown, we acidulated them. This is done by filling a large bowl with 2 quarts of water, slicing a lemon in half, and squeezing the juice into the water, leaving the rinds submersed in the liquid.
The grilling aspect is easy-peasy. Just prepare your grill for direct, high heat. Use a pastry brush to brush the artichoke all over with the herb infused oil, then sprinkle all over with salt. Place the artichoke halves cut-side-down on the grill grates, cover, and grill for 5 to 10 minutes, until you have nice grill mark on the cut sides of the artichokes. If desired, serve with mayonnaise, remoulade, or aioli.
Tender, Smoky Grilled Artichokes
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano, thyme
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, cut in half (no need to peel)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 2 to 4 large globe artichokes
- Steep herbs in warm olive oil: Place chopped fresh herbs in a small bowl (not the bay leaf), cover with olive oil. Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds (or heat oil and herbs on the stovetop until warm). Let the herbs steep in the warm olive oil while you prepare the artichokes.
- Prep the artichokes: Prepare a large pot with an inch of water at the bottom. Add the cut cloves of garlic and the bay leaf, and place a steamer rack in the pot.
- To prepare the artichokes, have lemon wedges ready. If you want a nice presentation, use scissors to snip away the pointy tips of the artichoke leaves. As you trim the artichokes, rub the cut areas with juice from the lemon wedges to prevent the artichokes from turning brown from oxidation.
- Use a vegetable peeler to cut away the thick outer layer of the artichoke stems. Trim the stems to 2 inches from the base of the artichoke. Cut off and discard the top 1/2 inch of the artichokes. Cut the artichokes in half.
- Scoop out the chokes and inner leaves: Use a strong metal spoon to scoop out the fuzzy chokes and the small inner artichoke leaves. Rub lemon juice all over the inside and exposed cut areas of the artichokes.
- Steam the artichokes: Heat the water in the large pot with a steamer rack on high. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium high and place the artichoke halves, cut side down on the steam rack.
- Cover. Steam for 20 minutes (less or more, depending on the size of the artichokes), until you can easily pull off the outer leaves, and you can pierce the heart easily with a knife.
- The artichokes can be just a tiny bit less cooked than would be typically perfect for steamed artichokes, as you will be cooking them further on the grill.
- Grill the artichokes: Prepare your grill for direct, high heat. Use a pastry brush to brush the artichoke all over with the herb infused oil. Sprinkle all over with salt.
- Place the artichoke halves cut-side-down on the grill grates. Cover, and grill for 5 to 10 minutes, until you have nice grill mark on the cut sides of the artichokes.
- Serve: Sprinkle the cut sides with more lemon juice. Serve alone or with mayonnaise, remoulade, or aioli.
Adapted from a recipe by Elise Bauer