Monday, May 21, 2012

Marinated and Grilled Artichokes

This dish is filled with great mindfulness from start to finish. It's three step easy: steam, marinate, and grill.

What you need to get the day before:

Four artichokes - this will make eight servings
nutrition facts

Ginger & Garlic Marinade Ingredients:

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup pure olive oil
2 T fresh ginger, minced
2 T fresh garlic, minced
fresh cracked black pepper

How to prep the artichoke the day before grilling:

Use kitchen shears and cut off about an inch of the top of the  artichokes .
Cut off the thorny tips of all leaves. Trim off a bit of the stem. Remove the little leaves along the stem. Rinse well.

In a large pot, add a few inches of water, a whole quartered clove of garlic and two quarters from a lemon (include the rind). You want the bottom of the steamer basket just above the water line.

Set the collapsible steamer basket in the pot and add the artichokes upside down (see the pic). Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cover with a lid. Start checking the artichokes for tenderness after about 30 minutes. They should be done in no more than 45 minutes, but it all depends on the size of the  artichokes. Mine were huge and they took 50 minutes to tenderize. You'll know they are done when the bottoms will pierce easily with a pointy knife and you can pull off an outer leaf with no problem.

see the purple leaves and fuzzy stuff?
Remove the steamer basket of cooked artichokes from the pot, set it in the sink or on a towel covered counter, so they cool. This is a great time to prepare the marinade.

Cut each cooled artichokes in half lengthwise and scrape out the fuzzy bits with a spoon and pull out the purple tipped leaves. This is much easier to do than it sounds.The fuzzy bits are the "choke". The purple leaves protect the "choke" - and they were rather spiny and poky. The entire system is the plant's way to protect and hide the delicate and delicious heart. Aren't plants brilliant!

On a side note, apparently the baby artichokes are entirely edible - including the choke and purple leaves. Don't eat the choke in a regular artichoke though -  there really is a choking hazard there. *makes a note to find baby artichokes one day*

Add the prepped artichokes to a large ziplock bag or two - or other sealed container. Cover with marinade and put in the fridge to sit and get to know each other overnight. Turn the bag a few times over the next 24 hours to make sure the marinade soaks in on all sides.

You can, if you forget to buy the artichokes the day before, prep the artichokes in the early morning. If you continue to forget about prepping until mid afternoon, plan to grill something else. The artichokes need time to co-mingle with their new friend the marinade. Artichokes can be kind of stand offish at first.

What to do on grilling day:

Remove the artichokes from the bag - dump out the marinade into a bowl. You will use it to baste during grilling.

Over medium hot coals, place the artichokes cut side down on the grill. Check after five minutes to see if they are nicely browned. If not, leave on the grill another couple minutes. Turn the artichokes over and baste or drizzle with the marinade. Keep on grilling (putting the lid on is good) another four or five minutes - until the leaf tips start to char.

Serve immediately with a nearby bowl or plate to collect the leaves. There is no need at all for a dipping sauce if you marinated the artichokes the night before.  Scrape the meaty sides of the leaves against your teeth, discarding the leaves. Finally, pay mindful attention to the wonderful heart (the white part in the pics). The heart does extend down into the stem, so don't forget to eat that too. This is one of those hands on somewhat messy things to eat that are great fun. Serve as a side dish or as a conversation initiating appetizer. No artichokes? No worries, make the gingery garlicky marinade anyway and use it as a salad dressing or stir fry sauce!


  1. Made these last night. They were terrible. Too much balsamic!!! There ratio on is 1/4 c balsamic, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 c soy, 1/4 c oil, 1 T ginger. I think I will try that ratio and only marinate from morning till evening. The marinade was too overwhelming doing it overnight and double the balsamic.

    1. I love the intense flavor of balsamic and am glad you found another recipe to try. Nothing better than grilled artichokes. Let me know how the other recipe works for you. A follow up would be helpful for others with a similar palate.

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