Don’t Be Scared

If you’re not familiar with whole artichokes, at first glance they look like a daunting, thorny and green mess. How are you supposed to eat this leafy bulb thing, anyway? We’re accustomed to artichoke hearts. They’re easily recognizable in the canned food aisle floating in a jar with oil and herbs. We’re used to enjoying them in many of our favorite dips, in a plethora of Mediterranean dishes, or as a way to jazz up a salad among a few things. With the warmth of impending summer, it was time to pop them on the grill.

A fresh artichoke gets a bad rap mainly because most folks aren’t sure how best to enjoy them. They can be steamed, boiled, even deep-fried—or marinated and grilled. Once cooked, pull off the pedals one at a time, then dip the fleshy, white end in a sauce, butter or olive oil. You don’t chew the whole petal, but instead pull it through your teeth to remove all the soft “meat”, discarding the fibrous leaf that is left. Keep doing this until all that remains is the heart. Scrape off the fuzzy, inedible top and enjoy all your hard work getting to the best part.

We hope this helped to demystify the fresh artichoke. If you’ve never had one in this manner, we strongly encourage throwing one in your cart next time you venture to the grocery store or farmers market. They are plentiful this time of year and deserve your love just as much as any other summer produce. Don’t be intimidated—you’ll be happy you explored something new.

Grilled Marinated Artichokes
– Serves 4-6
2 whole artichokes
Juice and slices of 1 lemon
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt, to taste
Olive oil

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin

Spicy Mayo Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
Salt to taste

1. In a large pot of water, add salt, garlic, lemon juice and slices, and a sprinkle of olive oil. Bring pot to a boil. While the pot heats up, use scissors to cut off the tips of each petal on the artichoke (This is done for a neater presentation and to make the removal of the leaves much easier as you eat.) Cut the artichokes into halves, hollow out the center by removing the purple, fuzzy middle, and immediately place in the lemon water to prevent them from browning. Cook for 15 minutes or until soft.

2. Remove artichokes from water and place in a shallow baking dish or in a large mixing bowl. Evenly coat with the marinate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill—at least one hour.

3. On a heated grill, cook artichokes on each side until heated and they being to blacken, about 8 minutes.

4. As the artichoke grills, mix all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and refrigerate until needed. Serve with the artichokes.

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


29 thoughts on “Don’t Be Scared

  1. I’m not a huge artichoke fan, but then again, I’ve never had them grilled. You’ve inspired me to give them a second look. My Italian family was always into artichokes, scraping the leaves with their teeth.

  2. I do like artichokes..but am intimated by using fresh ones. I’m may give it a try for this weekend’s holiday and conquer that phobia. Great post!

  3. These were done on a charcoal grill, so if you’re using a gas grill…maybe medium high heat. These were popped right onto the grate!

  4. They do look good that way. I am one of the cowards who buys them in oil or orders them from a restaurant menu, but never cooks them from fresh.

  5. I love grilled veggies but I have not done an artichoke yet. How hot did you have your fire when you put them on and about how far from the heat was your fire. I want to try these on my Big Green Egg.

  6. Thank you for this!!!! I’ve always steamed them whole and when I get down to triming the heart, the table looks like the scene out of the movie Psycho. 😉

  7. One of my favorite things living in New Jersey is the Italians and there artichokes, fresh flash fried with lemon pieces and spicy aoili.

    I finally made some fresh, and yours do make me want some more!

  8. love this recipe! thank you for posting. i have been searching for that creamy mayo and this is the perfect time to make it with artichokes since they are in season!

  9. I’ve had them every which way, except for deep fried. I’m going to have to try that next. I love me some artichokes!!! So juicy!

  10. I’ve only worked with fresh artichokes a couple of times and I felt as if all that work didn’t yield the results I was hoping. This however, looks and sounds magnificent. I like the spicy mayo.

  11. Mmmm. I bet the spicy mayo sauce totally makes it. I’ll admit I’ve never made fresh artichokes, not because I don’t enjoy them, but because it seems like an awful lot of work for just a little bit of flesh. However, maybe I should be more openminded and try sometime.

  12. I’ll be honest, I am kind of scared of artichokes! If someone else prepare them for me, I’ll eat them … but I never make them for myself. So much work! Can’t I just come by your place instead? Your look magnificent!

  13. I grew up eating artichokes, so was a little shocked when dinner guests at my house were so confounded by them!

    I’ve actually never made them myself though — unfortunate since if I make them for just me, I don’t have to share the heart! 😉

  14. I love fresh artichokes. We usually stuff ours — but grilling them sounds like a great plan. I particularly like the sound of that spicy mayo for dipping!

  15. I adore artichokes but still haven’t quite figured out how to prepare them at home the “right” way. I am going to try this recipe….that spicy mayo for dipping sounds delicious!

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