How to barbecue the perfect artichoke
We have the most beautiful artichokes growing in our backyard. It’s a joy to look at them through our kitchen window. They are the perfect size and flavor for barbecuing.
The perfect artichoke starts with fresh, local artichokes. If you don’t grow them, buy them at your local Farmer’s Market and use them the same day. Prepare the artichokes by using a pair of kitchen shears to cut off the tips of each of the leaves (bracts). This makes the artichoke more presentable. I like to trim the leaves because it also makes eating the artichoke more enjoyable with the thorny tip removed.
Once the leaves have been trimmed, use a large, sharp knife to cut off the tip of the artichoke. As you finish trimming each artichoke, add it to a large pot of boiling water. Cook the artichokes for 20 minutes (this is a good time to preheat the grill). The artichokes will be softened but not fully cooked. Remove the artichokes from the pot and cut in half lengthwise while still warm.
Use a melon baller or tableware spoon to scoop out the choke. Discard choke. If you miss a bit of the inedible choke, use the spoon to scrape against the heart and the florets should come off onto the spoon.
Brush the cut side of the artichokes with olive oil, being sure to coat the heart. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper over the cut side and transfer to a medium hot grill (about 500 degrees).
Grill with the cut side up for five minutes and then flip the artichokes over and grill for another three minutes with the cut side down. Remove from the grill and get ready for a true flavor-flash. Serve with freshly made aioli as a dip or better yet, serve with my creamy tarragon dip.
Eat local. Eat well. Eat fresh!
See Chef Randy’s food blog for more recipes at: http://valleyvegetarian.blogspot.com