Sunday, July 17, 2011

Grilled Artichokes For Two [Tom & June]

I remember eating artichokes when I was 5 years old. My Mom would stuff them with bread crumbs, herbs, garlic, cheese and either bacon or Italian sausage. They were pretty much a meal on their own. The stuffing was mounded on each leaf. The object was to eat your way to the luscious tender heart.

Some foods are made to eat with your hands and this is certainly one of those foods.

When in my 20's I frequented a pizza/Itailian restaurant on Second Avenue named Edwardo's. They made a mean stuffed choke similar to my Mom's except anchovies were substituted for the bacon or the sausage. It was always fun to bring someone new there. The owner/Maitre de was, I guess we could call him, a professional pick-pocket. Before you knew it he had my guests tie, wallet, jewelry, belt and more. It was always lots of laughs and good food.

When living in California, artichokes were a staple. Castroville, CA, is the artichoke capital of the world so chokes were always fresh. Californians typically serve them with either a mustard/mayo sauce or drawn butter. Over the years I have introduced artichokes to many people but I usually stuffed them until I found other ways to prepare them.

June and I ordered this appetizer at a Cheesecake Factory and loved it. I believe we pretty much duplicated the dish.

2 hour prep time and 1/2 hour cook time.
This is what you will need:

~ 1 Artichoke
~ 1/4 Cup Honey
~ 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
~ 1 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar
~ 1/4 Cup EVOO
~ 1/8 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
~ 1 Minced Garlic Clove
~ 1/8 tsp Onion Powder
~ 1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce


With a scissor cut the tips off the leaves. Careful not to get pricked. Also cut the top leaves off.

Next stand the choke on a cutting board with the stem up. With a serrated knife slowly cut down the middle of the stem into the leaf area so you have 2 halves.

Place the 2 halves in a pan of 3 to 4 inches of water. Partially cover, bring to a boil then turn the heat down cooking them at a slow boil for 30 minutes. Remove the halves when cooked, drain and place on plate. Cover and refrigerate for a least 1 hour. (this can be done a day or two in advance)

When ready to grill, spoon out the choke (hairy part) of the artichoke. Careful not to scoop out the heart.

The Dip:

Pour 1/2 tsp of EVOO in a saute pan on low heat. Saute the garlic for 1 minute, then add the other ingredients. Stir for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the remaining EVOO while continuing to stir. Cover and set aside. We will heat prior to serving.


Brush each half with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Grill the halves on medium to low flame for 7 minutes on each side, only turning them once.
Heat the dipping sauce and serve.

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