Ok. So artichokes are one of those things that I order on the appetizer menu almost every time I see them, but I never make them at home. Even though they are delicious, they seem difficult and time intensive for just a small side dish or an appetizer. Don’t be intimidated! Here is the rundown on how to tackle an artichoke and cook it the easy way so that all you have to do is enjoy. Artichokes have really prickly leaves. To start preparing the artichoke, use a serrated knife to cut the top inch or so off the artichoke. Also trim the bottom of the stem. Next use kitchen shears to trim the ends of the leaves from the outer part of the artichoke. This helps get rid of the prickly parts and allows the artichoke to cook evenly. Artichokes are best cooked by steaming them first to soften them and then grilling them for smoky flavor and crunchy texture. They can be served with melted butter or they can be served with an aioli. Aiolis are mayonnaise-based sauces that are flavored with any number of things. This aioli recipe is a little healthier than a normal aioli and is flavored with lemon, garlic, and cayenne pepper. It’s spicy and adds a nice creaminess to a fibrous artichoke.
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes
2 whole artichokes
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs mayonnaise
3 tbs non-fat Greek yogurt (Fage is best)
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 lemons, zest and juice
1 tsp cayenne pepper
a few drops worcestershire sauce
- To prepare the aioli: combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, garlic, lemon zest and juice, cayenne pepper, and worcestershire. Season to taste with salt and pepper, put into a small dipping container, and set aside in the refrigerator.
- Heat your grill or a grill pan on medium heat.
- Separately, fill a medium-large pot with water. Bring the pot of water to a boil.
- Prepare the artichoke as instructed above. Trim both ends with a serrated knife and trim the leaves with kitchen shears. Place the artichoke on your cutting board stem side up and cut the artichokes in half lengthwise.
- Reduce the water to a simmer and simmer the artichokes for 10 minutes. Strain and rinse the artichokes with cold water to stop them from cooking.
- Drizzle the artichokes with the olive oil and toss so that both sides are coated. Season with salt and pepper.
- Grill the artichokes for about 3 minutes per side or until they are starting to crisp and have grill lines.
- Serve appetizer style with the aioli in the center.