Yes, the Jefferson Airplane song popped right into my head this Sunday afternoon as I took my first bite of An Artichoke. Ever. A truly psychedelic experience. The lyrics ask the ultimate question (about terrifying, hypothetical circumstances): When the garden flowers, baby, are dead and your mind is so full of red, don’t you want some veggie to love? Don’t you need some veggie to love?
You see, Andrew and I were on our regular Sunday afternoon Trader Joes trip, already in the checkout line and this basket of nestled artichokes (where one might find magazines or candy at a lesser grocery store) made me want to dance like the hippies in the video above.
Mom and Dad always wanted me to try new things, though I believe they had steak in mind. I felt very adventurous with my little green friend and wanted to do this right. I think if foods are prepared with care and proper technique, anyone can make any food fabulous. I feel like there are few occasions where high heat can do a food wrong, precisely why I turn to roasting and grilling most often. Though I hadn’t a clue what to do with an artichoke (thank you, internet videos), I figured it would surely enjoy sitting a spell on my favorite blue grill.
A special thanks to The Killer Griller for the confidence to grill my artichokes. I’m also sending you once again to my Harris Teeter friend to learn how to prepare an artichoke for steaming through his brief instructional video.
Lindsey’s Garlic Grilled Artichokes
serves one as a main course, easily adapted to serve more
four garlic cloves
half a lemon
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
you will also need:
a pastry or silicone brush and aluminum foil
for optional Let’s-Pretend-This-is-Aioli dipping sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Prep the artichoke
Preheat your grill to medium heat. Cut an inch off the top of the artichoke, cut the outer tips, and use a vegetable peeler on the stem (more visual instructions here). Immediately rub the exposed parts with a cut lemon to prevent browning. Reserve the lemon.
Place the artichoke on a large sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil (or melted butter if you’re feeling naughty). Wrap the foil around the ‘choke and seal well. (Make individual packets if you’re preparing more than one artichoke). Place on the grill for about 40 minutes, or until a paring knife slides easily into the middle—you can test right when it’s on the grill.
Make the marinade
While the artichokes are steaming on the grill, crush the garlic cloves with a firm whack of your wide chef’s knife. (If you only have a narrow knife, you can smash it with the bottom of a pan, a meat pounder, etc. Get creative). Stir the smashed garlic pieces into 1/2 cup of olive oil, and season very well with coarse salt and fresh pepper.
When the artichoke is tender, remove the bundled ‘choke to your cutting board and carefully open. Cut the globe in half and scrape out the fuzzy middle—click here to watch The Killer Griller demonstrate. Brush both sides generously with your garlic marinade.
Place the artichoke halves
cute cut side up on the hot grill, the garlic cloves snuggled in the middle of the heart (sigh). Grill for about four minutes and turn gently with tongs, setting the garlic aside. Turn again if you like, until the vegetable has gorgeous char marks. Put on a serving plate.
Chop the softened garlic very fine and stir into the mayo along with a big squeeze of lemon. Add coarse salt and lots of pepper. Get out a big napkin, rip and dip away. Don’t bother with a fork.
Three minutes later, the marvelous massacre:
What is your vegetable/cooking Everest?