Making grilled artichokes is one of my favorite things to do in the early summer. The season for baby artichokes is short so make sure you buy them when you see them in the market! Stick with me through this quick guide on how to clean and grill baby artichokes... it is so worth it!
This grilled artichokes recipe is gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, low carb and just delightful.
GRILLED ARTICHOKES: A SEASONAL SENSATION.
This is my first post from France... it has been an incredible experience moving over seas. One of my favorite things about the south of France are the open air markets. Almost every town has a market (called a marché) at least one day a week. Some have them 2 or 3 days a week. Walking through all the various stalls from fresh seafood on ice to veggies still warm from the fields is an experience that I love. Seeing the pride everyone has for their goods is wonderful to see. Oh... and the fruits and veggies have so much flavor it is mind-blowing. (If you want to see the all pictures and get exclusive recipes sign up for the weekly round up emails)
At the first market we visit in a town called Lambesc I find some wonderfully purple baby artichokes. The growing season for artichokes is coming to an end here in late June, but you can find them at your local market or grocery store pretty easily. The flavor of artichokes is hard to describe... I mean they taste like artichokes. I would say that artichokes are slightly sweet with an earthy overtone. They love to be paired with bright acids (vinegar or lemon) and when they are grilled the flavor goes into overdrive.
Years ago I was told that you need to steam or boil artichokes before they go on the grill. I disagree with this method. Call me lazy if you want, but I really hate cleaning up a large pot that would be needed to steam these delightful thistles. Maybe for full sized artichokes it might be necessary to steam them separately, but I doubt it. Instead, we are going to steam them in a foil packet right on the grill. My suggestion is to use some heavy duty foil for this recipe not only for the larger size but to hold up to the longer grilling time. Really after they are steamed, the artichokes are actually on the grill for a short period of time. Please remember that the leaves will get tough if you keep the artichoke directly on the flames for too long!
HOW TO GRILL ARTICHOKES: STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE.
STEP 1: to make grilled artichokes it is really important to setup your work station. The prep is a bit messy for this recipe, so I suggest the following: a good sized cutting board, a medium sized discard bowl and a sturdy but small spoon to remove the choke (the fuzzy stuff in the middle). When getting setup, lay out a big piece of the heavy duty foil to place the cleaned artichokes on.
STEP 2: trim any stray leaves off the stem and slice the artichoke right down the middle. Using your small spoon, dig right into the choke above the heart. Remove the fuzzy choke and scrape around in there to get everything clean. Set on the foil cut-side up and repeat for the remaining artichokes.
STEP 3: season the artichokes with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Don't be shy with the seasonings. After they are seasoned, pull the edges of the foil up and add in ½ cup of water. Seal the foil packet and add onto the grill.
STEP 4: leave the foil packet on the grill for 20-25 minutes. The artichokes are ready to be removed when the heart is tender. Once the heart is tender, remove the artichokes and grill the outside first, but not too long as the leaves will become hard. Flip the artichokes and grill the inside. Serve hot and enjoy!
QUICK COOKING TIP: So many blogs will tell you to add lemon juice to the artichoke to prevent them from browning while you are working on cleaning the remaining artichokes. If we were going to eat these raw (yes, the hearts are delicious raw!) I would agree. However, since we are grilling them anyhow it doesn't really matter if the chokes start to brown.
Here's a quick Artichoke Eating Tip: Most people eat artichokes from the outside toward the center. With these grilled artichokes, start from the center with the tender leaves and move toward the outside. Make sure you have a discard bowl for all the leaves and don't forget to scrape out the stem- the meat in there is delicious too!
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE GRILLED ARTICHOKES RECIPE:
This recipe for artichokes on the grill takes a bit of time during the preparation portion. I find that this is quickly forgotten after you take your first bite. Remember to buy enough for everyone because they go fast. I buy five for my family. Typically I eat three halves, my seven year old son eats three halves and the ladies in our family finish up the rest.
Grilled artichokes pair perfectly with grilled meats. We enjoyed this batch with some local sausage which was so succulent I almost passed out at the table from sensory overload. If sausage isn't your thing, try out my Grilled Beer Can Chicken or Perfectly Grilled Pork Chops or do a completely finger-food meal with some Grilled Chicken Wings.
Oh- these are also delicious hot or cold. If you eat them cold, whip up some dijon vinaigrette to dip them in. Mind = Melted. I hope that you enjoy this recipe for grilled artichokes as much as we do! Happy eating.