Introduction: Grilled Artichokes
Artichokes are delicious. They may look a little strange, and can be confusing to eat for some, but they are good any way you slice them - especially grilled!
Grilling artichokes is easy, and if you only like steamed artichokes I'll show you how to do that as well. Since summertime means grilling, why not add this tasty green veggie to your menu?
Step 1: Select Artichokes
There's a few types of artichokes, but I like using the smaller ones as they are less expensive than larger ones (also you get more artichoke hearts to eat, which is awesome).
Usually darker spots on the leaves is fine, since you only eat the portion that's closest to the heart. If there's any bug damage, or mushy areas try selecting another one.
Wash the artichoke in cold water, opening up the petals to ensure water gets all up inside, then towel dry.
Step 2: Chop Top and Stem
Remove the top portion of the artichoke, this will be mostly leaf tips which are inedible.
Turn the artichoke around and trim the stem. The inner portion of the stem is edible, so don't trim it off entirely.
Step 3: Remove Bottom Leaves
The smaller leaves adjacent to the stem are touch and inedible, peel those away with your fingers until you start to see just the large leaves on the underside.
Step 4: Clip Leaves
Clip the sharp points of the remaining leaves. This makes handling the artichokes later easier, and can facilitate more surface area for steaming.
Step 5: Peel Stem
If you like to eat the stem (and if you like the heart then the stem is more of the same), use a vegitable peeler to remove the skin around the stem. The outer option of the stem can be bitter.
Step 6: Artichoke Prepared
Here's a comparison shot between a prepared artichoke and one right from the market.
The one on the right has the top trimmed, the leaves clipped, the stem peeled, and any smaller leaves underneath removed. Continue preparing the remaining artichokes in the same fashion.
Step 7: Chop in Half (or Quarters)
Chop the artichoke in half. I find it easiest to stand the artichoke on the top and slice downwards from the stem.
If you want smaller portions that will steam faster you can halve them again into quarters.
Step 8: Scoop Insides
The artichoke is a relative of the thistle, and if allowed to mature they open to display a lovely purple flower. The cluster of immature florets at the center of the artichoke is known as the "choke", and should not be eaten. - canida
Using a spoon the hairy-looking florets can be easily scooped out, along with any of the purple leaves.
If you want to prevent the artichokes from oxidizing and turning brown while you're preparing the remainder of the artichokes then now is the time to cover the cut surfaces with lemon juice. This is not necessary.
Step 9: Steam Those Artichokes
Set a large pot of water on high to boil. If you like you can season your water with spices, lemon juice, or a bay leaf. This is not necessary but can add a nice touch to your artichokes.
Place steaming basket into pot, then place artichokes stem side up into steaming basket. Cover and steam for 30 minutes or until the leaves can easily be pulled from the artichoke. You'll notice they are getting close to being done when they turn a dull green colour.
Step 10: Let Cool
After about 30 minutes the artichokes will be a dull green in colour and be very soft. Perfect!
Gently remove from the steaming basket and let cool for a few minutes. The artichokes are completely cooked and can be consumed now, but grilling them takes them to a new level of deliciousness.
Step 11: Season and Oil
After slightly cooling the open face of the artichokes were coated with cooking oil. Not all oils are equal, and since we're putting these artichokes onto direct flame we'll want an oil with a smoke point above 350-400°F (170-200°C).
Step 12: Face Down on Grill
Since the artichokes are already completely cooked we're looking for tasty charring only.
With your grill set to medium-high heat place the artichokes face down on the grill.
Step 13: Rotate and Remove
After a few minutes on the grill rotate the artichokes 90° to get a nice grill marks. When the edges of the artichoke start to char you're done. Remove the artichokes from the grill and serve on a platter.
Step 14: Consume!
To eat an artichoke, pull of a leaf and put the meaty base of the leaf between your teeth and scrape off the soft flesh. Discard the rest of the leaf. Once all the leaves are eaten you can eat the soft meaty center known as the heart, as well as the stem. Don't forget your favourite dipping sauce like butter, mayonnaise, or Hollandaise.
Do you have your own sauce or technique for artichokes? I want to know!
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