|Ready for basting, then the grill|
Believed to have originated in North Africa, we can thank the Mediterranean regions of Southern Europe for the cultivation of this partially edible flower head. While the thorns and outer leaves give the artichoke a somewhat menacing look, it's the inner heart that chefs and diners covet.
Boiled or steamed, the heart becomes tender and a beautiful canvas for dips and vinaigrettes. When I was little my mom served our artichokes with a dollop of mayo, but the past few years have introduced me to a variety of dips and cooking methods, all bringing different flavors to that canvas.
Tonight, our version included basting with a balsamic vinaigrette along with a finish on the grill. Boiled until tender, the artichokes is then cooled until cool enough to handle and cut in half. Brushed with a balsamic, olive oil and garlic vinaigrette, the artichokes are placed, cut side down, on the grill for just a few minutes. Flipping them reveals those lovely grill marks as an aroma of garlic wafts past.
Served with a side of vinaigrette, the artichokes serve up tender, flavorful, and worthy of seconds. What's your favorite artichoke recipe??
Grilled Artichokes with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Low in calories yet rich in fiber content, artichokes also bring magnesium, potassium, and folate, all nutrients that help improve muscle function and heart health. Fun to eat and healthy too, what's not to like??
|Next stop? The grill!|
1 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 1/2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Cut thorns off of artichokes, then cut about 1/2 inch off of the top. Pull the bottom leaves from the artichoke and using a vegetable peeler clean the stem.
Place artichokes in a pot of boiling water and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the top of the stem is tender (slip a paring knife into the top of the stem to test for tenderness). Remove and drain. Allow artichokes to cool until they can be handled.
While the artichokes are cooling prepare the vinaigrette. Place olive oil, balsamic, garlic and oregano into a small bowl and whisk.
When cool enough to handle, cut artichokes in half (from top to bottom, not side to side). Scoop out the "choke", or the hairy, thistly part in the middle. Be very careful not to scoop out the tender and delicious heart... just the "choke".
When the artichoke is cleaned, baste with the vinaigrette and place cut side down on a medium hot grill. Cover and cook for 4- 5 minutes, or long enough to reheat and obtain grill marks on the artichoke. Flip over and give the other side a few minutes to grill, then remove and serve with the remaining vinaigrette.