Grilled Artichokes with Spicy Lemon Aioli

I KNOW.

ImageI just gave you a plate full of veggies and all I have to follow up with is more of them. But, don’t fret…these are too good to pass up, and I’ve always seen artichokes as more of a vehicle for a sauce or dip anyways. So it’s a snack, not a vegetable (at least that’s my flawed logic) AND this aioli has only 3 ingredients and is reaaaaally addicting, so it’s totally worth it.

Also…I’m baking cookies all day today, so my raging sweet tooth will make its appearance soon enough. Don’t you worry about that one little bit. This girl loves chocolate & sugar more than life itself.

Growing up, my daddy would always make me steamed artichokes. Simple and served with a side of lemon garlic butter, I could take down two in one sitting. Not something exactly common among other little kids…but I’ve been pretty much weird from the beginning. They’ve always been one of my favorite foods, and I get excited every spring when they come around.

Grilling the artichokes adds a depth of flavor that you can’t get from steaming alone and setting out a tray of these at your next get together looks pretty impressive (no one has to know how simple they really are, that can be our little secret!).

ImageRaw artichokes can be a bit intimidating. I know the first time I was handed one at school I was completely confused. Don’t worry; it’s a lot simpler than you may think. First, try and pick artichokes that are all green. The more brown on the leaves, the older and tougher they are, so you’re going to have to pull them off anyway.

Next, once you have your pretty green artichokes at home, pull off the tougher outer leaves near the stem and use a pair of scissors to cut off any spiky bits on the ends of the remaining leaves.

Now that they’re trimmed and less likely to cause minor injuries…you’re gonna cut those suckers in half down the middle, stem to tip. You’ll see some purple and white hair-type things. This is the choke. It’s inedible and you definitely don’t want it at the party. So, pull the choke and attached inner leaves out as best you can and then scrape the remainder out with a spoon until they’re clean and pretty like this!

ImageGrilling the artichokes alone won’t cook them all the way through, so we need to par-cook them a little before hand. So, we’re going to steam them for a few minutes.  Don’t even get out a pot of water, we’re going to use the easy way (and my favorite way) to steam them…the MICROWAVE!

ImageAll you need to do is put your artichokes in a large microwave safe container with a lid, drizzle in a couple of tablespoons of water, put on the lid and set them for 3-5 minutes on high. Remember, we don’t want them all the way cooked, just partially, so check them after a few minutes by feel. BE CAREFUL! They will be hot.

Now, its time to start up the grill! If you have a gas grill, just turn it to medium-high heat and let it pre-heat for 10-15 minutes. If use charcoal, like us, I recommend you get a chimney, if you don’t already have one (just please try to not be like me and let it get rusty). No need for lighter fluid and that alone is a good thing. No more nasty chemicals, YAY!

ImageImageWhile your grill/coals are heating up, we’re going to mix up the aioli.

ImageJust mayo, Chili Garlic Sauce, and lemon juice + a little salt & pepper. That’s it.

ImageIf you can, find Kewpie Mayo (that weird squeeze bottle, it comes in a plastic bag with a picture of a Kewpie doll on it). It’s sold in Asian groceries and has a much better flavor than any American mayo I’ve ever used.

Now that our grill is hot and our artichokes have cooled, it’s showtime!

ImageImageFirst, we need to oil our artichokes so they don’t stick and give them a good seasoning with salt & pepper.

ImageGrill the artichokes for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until they develop a good char.

ImagePull them off and let cool for a few minutes so you don’t burn your fingers. That would just ruin all the fun…and we’re trying to have a party here, remember?

ImageServe them with the aioli and lots of napkins…pulling off each of those leaves can be a tad messy, especially when the sauce gets involved. ALSO! Don’t forget to eat the heart in the middle; it’s definitely the best part.

ImageIf you’ve made it to the end of this entirely too long post, congratulations! Reward yourself with an artichoke…or four.

Grilled Artichokes with Spicy Lemon Aioli – serves 4

            2 medium sized artichokes

2 T water

1 T vegetable oil

½ C mayonnaise (preferably Kewpie Mayo)

2 t Chili Garlic Sauce OR

2 t Sriracha + ½ t crushed red pepper + ½ t garlic powder

1 ½ t lemon juice

salt & pepper to taste

  • clean and trim artichokes
  • cut artichokes in half from stem to tip, remove choke
  • place artichokes in a microwave-safe container with a lid, add water and close lid, leaving one corner unattached to vent
  • microwave on high for 3-5 minutes until par-cooked, set aside
  • pre-heat grill or start charcoal
  • when grill is hot/coals are ready, drizzle artichokes with oil, rubbing to coat
  • season artichokes well with salt and pepper
  • grill 3-5 minutes on each side until slightly charred and cooked through
  • let cool 5 minutes and enjoy with spicy lemon aioli

spicy lemon aioli: combine Chili Garlic Sauce, mayonnaise, and lemon juice in bowl. season with salt and pepper to taste.

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One response

  1. Pingback: Time for artichokes - Federal Hill Gazette

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