Spring marks the presence of fresh vegetables. You know, the kind that didn’t grow in the ground. Artichokes, asparagus, spinach and ramps all start to make their appearance. And while Ole thinks it’s cool to grill in the middle of winter, outside with several feet of snow and a temp well below zero, I’m guessing that this is one of those things that make him stand out from the crowd. So, spring also marks the beginning of the grilling season (for the rest of the world, at least). My favorite way to eat all these spring vegetables is to toss them on the grill.
Start by squeezing a lemon into a bowl of water to house your halved artichokes. They brown quickly, so it’s best to have this ready before you cut into them.
Soak the artichokes in the lemon-infused water while you prepare to boil them.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. By large, I mean large enough to hold however many artichokes you’re planning on grilling.
Add the artichokes, turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the artichokes from the water and drain…
…placing them in a bowl with olive oil, minced garlic, a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
Place the artichokes directly on a hot grill.
Use any leftover oil from the bowl to baste the artichokes while you’re grilling.
Continue to grill for 5 minutes a side until artichokes start to show grill marks and char, about 15-20 minutes total.
While the artichokes are grilling, mix up an easy aioli using mayonnaise, the remaining half of lemon, garlic, a bit of onion or shallot and salt and pepper.
And serve your artichoke with the aioli to dip in. You can peel the petals off prior to serving as I did here for the kids, or you can serve whole and peel towards the tender heart of the artichoke as you eat, which is how I prefer to do it. Note: Ole was surprised how popular these were with the kids. They were all excited, ate a half an artichoke each and were begging for more.
In fact, they were such a hit that we even decided they should make an appearance at our neighbors’ barbecue get-together this past weekend. We prepped them at home up until the grilling stage and just showed up with a bowl with a bowl full of seasoned artichokes ready to hit the grill.
3 whole artichokes
1 1/2 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
cracked black pepper
Fill a large bowl with water. Squeeze the juice from one lemon into the bowl, saving the rind. Halve artichokes and immediately submerge in the water. Bring a 5-quart pot of water to a boil and add in the squeezed lemon rinds. Transfer the artichokes to the boiling water. Boil for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Heat grill on high. Empty the lemon water from the bowl. Add in juice from half a lemon, olive oil, crushed/minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper. When the artichokes are done boiling, drain them and toss them around in the bowl.
Turn the grill down to a medium heat. Add artichokes to the grill. Baste the artichokes with the remaining oil mixture in the bowl. Turn every five minutes until artichokes start to char. Remove from heat. Service with aioli dipping sauce.
For the easy aioli:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion, diced (or 1/2 shallot)
1/2 teaspoon salt
cracked black pepper
Mix together all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with grilled artichokes.
Makes 6 servings.