Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon-Garlic Aioli, influenced by Ina Garten

I love artichokes! I am fortunate to live 20 minutes away from Castroville, California-- the Artichoke Capital of the World. I can remember, back in the day, trail riding my horse along the artichoke fields as we would head for the state beach where my Arabian and I could gallop along the water. I was always tempted to take some of those wonderful 'chokes with me, but I never did. I have too much respect for growers, and I know that's theft.

Fortunately, artichokes are coming into season and are the large ones are selling for less than $1.00. Oh yeah! I stocked up on those.

My husband, who is from Missouri, doesn't have the love affair that I do for these wonderful thistles. The brown edges don't scare me at all-- some of that comes from frost. I usually steam my artichokes in my pressure cooker.

I like to cut off the top to a flat edge, and then trim the stems. I pull off excess tiny leaves and then place them, cut side down, into my pressure cooker. I place 1 cup of water on the bottom, close the lid and pressure cook on low for 11 minutes! If you don't have a pressure cooker (and I cannot imagine not having one), these can take 45 minutes or more to cook!

These are ready to go! However, I wanted to do something a little different. I decided to marinate baste these in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I thought about cutting these in half, but I decided to grill them "whole".

Then, I decided to take a photo with flash (the sun had already gone down)...

What a difference!

I found one lonely little hamburger patty, so I moved the artichokes aside and threw it on the grill...

I cannot wait for the weather to stay warm, because I love grilled food!

Traditionally, I dip the artichokes in mayonnaise. Some people prefer butter, but mayo is the way to go. However, I wanted to make an aioli, so I searched for ideas. I didn't want to mess with raw eggs, and then I spotted Ina Garten's version that uses a slice of bread and mayonnaise. Aha! I had one slice of sour dough bread that I didn't want to waste. I soaked the bread in a little white wine vinegar, added mayo, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic (opting not to add fresh parsley or any herbs, this time) in my mini chopper:


I ran out of light, so I couldn't take a lot of photographs. Trust me, this is a great way to try artichokes. They're even delicious, cold.

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Elyse said...

Wow, this aioli sounds fabulous! So unique and easy to throw together. I'll join you in your love affair for artichokes. I adore them. There's something amazing about them--leaves heart, adn all. How delicious! You're making me want to get out my grill and make some artichokes!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I'm in the artichoke fan club, too. You've now got me thinking I need a pressure cooker, since I've always struggled with how long it takes to prepare them.

Stacey Snacks said...

I like the shot of the chokes dancing around the patty!
I too, love artichokes. Lucky that you live so close to such great produce.

unconfidentialcook said...

Ina is a big influence in our house, too. We love her, and she speaks like a normal person. Love that Aioli!

Simple Simon said...

Beautiful. I really like the idea of grilling the artichokes for an additional dimension of flavor. Your blog is wonderful!

judy garnon said...

I love your idea of cooking them in the pressure cooker.. but what does 'cook them on low' mean?
Thanks a bunch,
judy gal

Anonymous said...

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