Inspired by some of my favorite food bloggers and chefs like Jamie Oliver, I am making a serious effort to cook seasonally. Not only does it ensure that I’m eating fruits and vegetables at their peak, but usually these items are on sale because they are in abundance. That’s the best win-win I can think of.
Being in Michigan means our in-season bounty is short-lived, but thanks to many great farming communities in the area we do have a pretty good selection from May to October. Last week was asparagus fest and this week I’m all about artichokes.
I’ve had them before when I was young, but I had never prepared them myself. I went to the grocery store and saw some beautiful globe artichokes and quickly purchased them, but still had no idea what I’d do with them. That afternoon I found this recipe for grilled artichokes and it all seemed like perfect timing. We were expecting great weather and I was thrilled to find the recipe.
These turned out delicious. They have a distinct vegetal taste heightened by the slight charring from the grill and accent of lemon. It was the first time Marc ate fresh artichokes and we had a good laugh when he put the tender heart in our bowl destined for compost along with the discarded tough leaves and I gasped, “That’s the best part!” I served the artichokes with a quick spicy mayo and we had fun enjoying the experience together. That’s another wonderful thing about artichokes, it’s an experience. Dipping the leaves and savoring the tiny morsels of tender meat.
I wanted to try the eggless chervil mayonnaise David Lebovitz had posted as the dipping sauce, but I ran out of prep time. The only small change I’ll make to this recipe next time is maybe by adding some white wine to the steaming liquid for the artichokes as advised by a friend of mine. The recipe is simple and delicious, but I didn’t really feel like the garlic and bay leaf added too much flavor to the artichokes and next time I want to go with lemon and white wine and see how it turns out.
Recipe: Grilled Fresh Artichokes
Recipe from Jaden of Steamy Kitchen
serves 4-6 as an appetizer or 2-4 as a side
2 lemons, cut in half
6 garlic cloves
1 T. coarse salt
1 bay leaf
4 fresh artichokes
2 T. olive oil
Your favorite dipping sauce
1. Rinse each artichoke and cut off the top 1 inch of the artichoke and 1 inch off of the bottom stem. Peel and break off the first few layers of leaves until they start appearing smooth and light green. Rub the top of the artichokes with one of the lemon halves.
2. Bring a large pot with 4 inches of water to a boil. Throw the lemon half that you used in step 1 into the water, squeezing a bit to release the juices into the water. Add the salt, garlic cloves and bay leaf. Place the artichokes in a steamer basket in the pot and lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the base is easily pierced with a knife.
3. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise and use a sharp paring knife to remove and discard the fuzzy choke. Brush each half with olive oil and also brush the remaining lemon halves with olive oil as well.
4. Heat a grill pan to high heat (or use an outdoor grill). When hot, add the artichoke and lemon halves, cut side down. Grill for 5 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce of your choice.