I went to the market yesterday and they had some great looking artichokes.  So I picked up a couple and figured that I would grill them.  Plus it would give me the opportunity to break down an artichoke and document it for the website.   Cleaning artichokes is easy but I can totally see why a person would be afraid to pick them up from the store.

Artichokes look scary but they are easy to work with once you know what you are doing.
Artichokes look scary but they are easy to work with once you know what you are doing.

I am going to prepare artichokes, grill them and make a cayenne and roasted garlic aioli for a dipping sauce.

Grilled Artichokes

  • 4 artichokes
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Spicy Roasted Garlic Aioli

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

The first step is to peel back the outer leaves of the artichoke.  Peel back all of the dark outer leaves until you see the pale green/yellow leaves.

Peel back the leave one by one until you expose the light green/yellow leaves.
Peel back the leave one by one until you expose the light green/yellow leaves.

Next trim the stem to about an inch and then remove the pale green/yellow leaves with a sharp knife.  As you can see from the picture above, there is a natural indentation in the leaves.  Cut the leaves off about 1/4 inch below the natural indentation.

Cut off the top leaves to expose the choke
Cut off the top leaves to expose the choke

The remaining part is the heart along with the fuzzy choke.  Using a melon baller or a spoon, scrape the choke out from the center of the artichoke heart.

Choke removed
Choke removed

Next using a vegetable peeler, peel the outer layers of the stem and leaves.  You want to expose the inner softer portions. I find that you need to peel off all of the dark green parts of the artichoke.  They are hard and not so tasty.

Peel the harder outer layers off of the artichoke.
Peel the harder outer layers off of the artichoke.

Finally cut the artichoke in half lengthwise through the stem.

Cut in half right through the stem
Cut in half right through the stem

Place the artichokes in ice water with the juice from the lemon in it.  The lemon will help prevent the artichoke from turning brown.

Next bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Remove the artichokes from the ice water and place directly into the boiling salted water.  Cook for 10 minutes or until tender.    Drain the artichokes and place in a bowl.  Coat evenly with the 3 tbs of olive oil and the salt and pepper.

Blanche the artichokes and then toss with olive oil before grilling
Blanche the artichokes and then toss with olive oil before grilling

Next grill the artichokes over medium heat for 5-6 minutes.

Place directly over the heat
Place directly over the heat

Flipping every couple of minutes.

Flip to get all of the sides browned
Flip to get all of the sides browned

Remove the artichoke hearts from the heat and serve.  I find that it is best to halve each of the hearts to make them bite size.  It is best to do it after grilling so that the halves are big enough to not fall through the grates while cooking.

Cut the hearts in half and serve
Cut the hearts in half and serve

For the Aioli I place the cloves of garlic in a piece of aluminum foil with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil.  I then fold of the foil into a pouch and place it directly on grill grates.  Let it cook for 15-20 minutes or until the garlic is brown. While the garlic was cooking I picked a ripe cayenne pepper from my urban garden.

My first ripe pepper of the season
My first ripe pepper of the season

Place the garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper into a food processor and chop up the ingredients.  Next add the mayonnaise and red wine vinegar.  Pulse a couple of times to form the aioli.  Spoon into serving bowls.  The Artichokes are amazing with the aioli.  It is a great combination.

Artichokes with spicy and smokey aioli
Artichokes with spicy and smokey aioli

The next time you go to the supermarket, grab a few artichokes.  Once you know how to prepare them, you will use them in everything.

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.

7 Comments

  1. I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never processed an artichoke before. Just never got around to it.

    These look so different from the jarred variety so I know it is an epicurean imperative that I try it:)

    • Chris you definitely have to try fresh artichokes. Just make sure to use the peeler and get the outer most part of the stem and leaves off. Otherwise they can be a little hard and woody. Plus fresh artichokes don't have the acidic twang that the canned ones have.

  2. Great site! Thanks so much for this breakdown. I love artichokes but was intimidated by them and as such, was stuck with the frozen/canned varieties.

    Melissa passed this site on to me. It's quickly becoming one of my favorites!

    • Colleen, Thanks for the complement. I try to tackle all of the culinary road blocks that most people hit. Most of my posts are responses to questions that I get. One of the most popular questions was regarding, "How do you prepare a fresh artichoke"? If you ever have any questions feel free to email me.

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