Grilled Artichokes

ChopsChokePlatterbfLOErmmm, make that grilled artichoke – we only bought one because we were uncertain exactly WHEN we’d get around to having it.

We were slouching about Milwaukee last Thursday with Rich’s mom (well, we were slouching, she wasn’t), when we came across some of the nicest looking artichokes this side of Castroville at Whole Foods – and at a surprisingly decent price! Still, we had dinner plans that night, a full schedule and lunch plans the next day, and a whirlwind round trip to and from Indiana to bring mom home on Saturday; so there was that question of how long they’d last in the crisper?

As it happens, the artichoke advisory board (or something very like it on da Google) says that you can keep your artichoke in a plastic bag in the fridge for four days. I didn’t bother with the plastic bag (we’d picked it up at WHOLE FOODS, after all) and just chucked it in the crisper with the parsley and romaine and carrots. Worked a treat, and my most favored of all the thistles was still in fine form for grilling with some lamb chops on Sunday evening.

I have always just steamed my artichokes and been done with it – but Rich and I are still talking about some incredible ‘chokes grilled over a wood fire we had a few years back in Napa – so I went to da Google for guidance – All Praise da Google! – and was rewarded with this recipe from Bon Appétit. The sesame dipping sauce is lovely, and could easily double as a smoky salad dressing, but the preparation method was, shall I say, a bit FUSSY. If I’d thought to cross reference with one of my basic all-purpose cook books, I could’ve saved myself a good bit of bother and  served up a prettier compound flower to boot; so I’ve adjusted the prep instructions a bit from the original – in this case: do as I say, not as I did, you’ll thank me for it.

•4 artichokes
•Lemon (a couple)
SesameSauce01bfLO•1/3 cup olive oil
•1 garlic clove, minced
•Salt and pepper

Dipping Sauce:
•1/2 cup mayonnaise
•3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
•2 tbsp olive oil
•2 tbsp sesame oil (look in the Asian section of your market – OR – just recently our local Jewel started carrying it with the other cooking oils, so your market may as well)
•1-1/2 tbsp honey
•1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
•3/4 tsp seasoned salt

SesameSauce02bfLOEarly in the day (or, even better, the day before), whisk all the dipping sauce ingredients together to blend well, then transfer to a covered container and toss in the fridge until cold.

Also early in the day (a cool bonus if you’re planning to have folk over for a ‘cue later on), fill a large bowl with cold water and about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and prepare the artichokes; cut off the stem and top quarter of the artichoke, then cut in half and toss into the lemon water.

ChopsChokeGrill01bfLOSet a large pot of salted water to boil and add the artichokes and some of the juiced lemon halves. Cook for about thirty minutes, or until tender. Remove the artichokes from the water and cool – or, up to one day in advance, cover and refrigerate.

When you’re ready to grill (Sunday evening was a bit stormy and chilly here on the edge o’ the prairie, so I used our indoor grill instead of Rich firing up the Weber), combine the olive oil and minced garlic together and brush on the artichoke halves. ChopsChokeGrill03bfLOSprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and toss, cut side down, on the grill – I also had some lamb chops I’d popped into my steak and chop marinade the night before, so tossed ‘em all on together.

Grill the artichokes about eight minutes, turning occasionally, until nicely charred.

Brush more of the olive oil and garlic on as you’re turning.

ChopsChokePlatebfLOI’d already removed and tossed the fuzzy choke before cooking, but if you wait and do this after, your artichoke might could hold together a bit better while grilling – just a thought.

Dinner’s done!

Serve your grilled artichoke with the sesame dipping sauce on the side. We had ours with the chops and some ‘grilled’ corn on the cob I’d done in a hot oven.


Of course, now I want more artichokes!

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