Spring has sprung and with it we are diving into our favorite vegetable of the moment, the noble and delicious artichoke. When I eat artichokes, I often find myself daydreaming about vacations in Rome, foggy drives through coastal artichoke fields in Monterey, and the incredible crispy “Carciofi Alla Judea” at Locanda Osteria in the mission — the stuff foodie dreams are made of. My family’s very favorite simple preparation, “Ali’s Artichokes”, is pretty dreamy in its own right. I think my boys mostly love artichokes because they are fun to eat and I suppose that’s just fine too. Happy Spring!
My cousin Ali, a master of the grill, taught me to make artichokes this way. That little bit of crispness and char make them especially delicious.
- Start your steamer and have it hot and ready to go because artichokes start to discolor the moment you cut them.
- While your steamer is getting hot, trim your artichokes. Here’s a great video by Chef Ian Knauer (below). If you’re planning to trim them ahead, toss them in a bowl of water to which you have added a generous squeeze of lemon to keep them from discoloring. ** For this preparation, we like our artichokes trimmed and cut in half. We don’t bother removing the chokes, because they’re easier to scoop out after steaming. **
- Steam until just tender. I steam them for 20 minutes and then start checking them every 5-10 minutes. Once tender, I let them cool a bit until they’re cool enough to handle. I scoop out the choke with a spoon and then “marinate” them in olive oil and sea salt. You can grill them right away or leave them covered in the refrigerator overnight.
- Before serving, give them 5 minutes on a grill or under the broiler to crisp them and give them a bit of char.