Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Grilling Artichokes

Right off the bat, you just have to face it: Artichokes are a lot of work. It doesn’t seem that way if you do a little today, and finish them tomorrow, tho. So here’s the plan: Prep them today, and amaze all your friends at the bar-b-que tomorrow!

I prepped these artichokes while I was making a pizza for dinner. You don't have to set aside the morning to do this!

You will need a grill. If you have smoking chips, use them, too. But that’s tomorrow. Today, we do the work.

Prepping and Marinating Artichokes

2 Artichokes
3-4 Lemons
Olive Oil
Large Pot of Boiling Water

Sharp Knife
Vegetable Peeler

Have that pot of water boiling.

First, cut a lemon in about 6 slices. Pull off the 2-3 lowest tiers of outer leaves on each artichoke, then peel the stems with the vegetable peeler. Put a fresh cut at the bottom of the stem. Now quickly – right away – rub a slice of lemon over all the newly exposed surfaces. This is a recurring and very important theme. The cut surfaces of a raw artichoke will turn black in a few minutes. Working quickly is the key.

Now, cut one artichoke in half as shown. Immediately rub the newly cut surfaces with lemon. Using the tablespoon, remove the furry choke and any thin, spiky (usually purple) inner leaves. Rub the newly exposed surfaces with lemon. Repeat with the other half, and again with the other artichoke. All the cut pieces in these pix have been liberally rubbed with lemon. See the pic on the right for what you’ll have left over!

Plunge the prepped artichokes into the boiling water and hold them down with tongs to be sure that all the air between the leaves escapes and is replaced with boiling water. Do this several times. Turn them over now and then, too, to be sure they’re cooked completely. When not turning them, partially cover the pot. This step will take about 20 min. for very large artichokes.

In the meantime, juice up the remaining lemons. Ignore the seeds. Just leave them in the juice. They’ll fall off during the grilling. Pour the juice in a very large, non-reactive bowl. Now add about 2/3 as much olive oil as there is juice into the bowl. This is not a critical measurement. Sometimes I use more oil, sometimes more juice. Then put at least 1 Tb. or more of Kosher Salt into the bowl. Grind in a lot of fresh pepper and whisk it all together.

You’ll know when the artichokes are finished cooking because a paring knife will slip easily into the exposed artichoke bottom. Lift the artichokes out of the water and let them drain in a colander -- cut side down -- until they’re cool. Then set them into the marinade, spooning the mixture into all the little crevices. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight…or over 2 nights, whatever you like.

Cooking the Artichokes (Serves 4)

I forgot to photograph this part, so I’m using pix I took of other grilled artichokes – that’s why they look like they shrunk!

Remove the bowl of artichokes from the fridge and allow to sit at room temp while you prepare the coals. Get the grill going hot, use wood chips if you like. Now set the artichokes on the grate and allow the flames to surround them for a moment or two. Now cover the grill and keep all the vents open. You can also add anything else you’re going to grill at this point. Turn the artichokes after at least 5 minutes, then again after 5 more. The object here is to just get them warmed up, and charred too, if you like.

When you serve these guys, be sure to put a big bowl on the table for the leavings. The flavors will melt in your mouth!

To me, they’re worth every minute of prep.

(Clicky all the pix for a better look!)


Expedition Girl said...

I never grilled them before. Maybe I will try it this summer.

Rita from Timber Creek Farms Organics said...

I highly recommend grilling artichokes! You won't believe the flavor. Don't wait till summer. As soon as the temp gets to 40 degrees, you can easily grill them outside without catching a cold! =)