I was blessed to have wonderful cooks in my family who prepared delicious vegetables (among other foods!). Also we live very close to the Artichoke Capital of the World – Castroville, California! They even host an annual festival (pre-COVID), The Castroville Artichoke Festival, focused around the vegetable. As well, they produce more than 80% of the California artichokes grown and delivered across the United States. I know many of you were never served a vegetable you loved as a kid or young adult. Some of you even had to have mayonnaise on top of your vegetables! Hmmm….Or maybe fresh vegetables just weren’t available. We were blessed to have a large garden spot where my parents grew many fruits and vegetables, and had many fruit trees.
My Grandma Rose and my Mom both made wonderful artichokes when I was growing up! They also served many other vegetables which I may not have eaten had they not introduced me to them as a kid. My husband says that he didn’t like many vegetables until we were dating and my family served them in ways he’d never had.
My recipe may have a bit more garlic than my mom or my grandma would ever have put, but they are cooked in a similar manner, slow simmered. Baby artichokes are delicious and tender also, and can cook them much quicker, if you’ve never tried them. They are sometimes hard to find in grocery stores. Lately, we have enjoyed cooking these in water for a bit less time, then popping on the grill for a few minutes. So delicious! Give these a try and teach your kids (or adults) to love their veggies!
These pair perfectly with any Italian dish, fish or even steak. Actually, they pair well with nearly any food and they are always a treat!
The Best Artichokes – ON or OFF the Grill
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minute-1 hour
6- 8 medium to large artichokes
8 – 11 large cloves garlic, crushed or minced
A few parsley sprigs, optional
1/2 lemon or a few tablespoons of lemon juice, to soak the artichokes in prior to cooking)
1/2 -3/4 teaspoon of salt per artichoke, plus 1/2 teaspoon for the stockpot (or less as desired)
Crushed pepper, as desired
Garlic Butter (recipe below) for serving
Set a large bowl or stockpot half full of water. You may need to use two pots if your artichokes are large. Add the juice of a half of a lemon into the stockpot. Clean the artichokes and remove the outside, lower leaves. Trim the stem, but leave a few inches for grilling as they will stay together better. Use a very sharp knife to trim the prickly edge off the tips of each artichoke.
Place them face down into the lemon water and soak for 5 or 10 minutes. Pour out the water and replace with fresh water. Remove one artichoke at a time from the water to a small plate. Stuff the artichoke with at least one large clove minced or crushed garlic, trying to push some into the inside, and some between the leaves. This works best with a dinner knife, to push it down. Then set gently back into the water, face up. Continue for remaining artichokes.
Fill the stockpot with additional water to cover the artichokes. The artichokes will pop up out of the water. Add 1/2 -1 teaspoon of salt into the stockpot. Add the parsley sprigs to the water. Finish by drizzling 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon olive oil in the center of each, while trying to keep them standing upright.
Cover with the lid cracked and set on the burner and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours or until the outside artichoke leaves are tender to serve whole or 45 minutes to 1 hour to cut into halves and finish on the grill. **See note below To Grill Halves of Artichokes after simmering. Reduce the cooking time to 35-40 minutes.
To Grill Halves of Artichokes:
After simmering for 35-40 minutes, remove to a plate and let cool until you are able to handle. With a very sharp knife, cut down the center of the artichoke. Carefully remove the choke fuzzy part and inside leaves that are not edible. When ready to grill, drizzle olive oil over them. Heat your grill to high heat. Place on the grill with the inside of the artichoke facing up. Grill over medium high heat for 8-10 minutes. Flip each half over and char the inside. Remove to a platter and serve with garlic butter.
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, salted
6-8 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the butter and stir until melted. Turn off the saucepan and stir in the garlic. Pour into a small bowl and pass with the artichokes or drizzle over before serving.