Friday, June 24, 2011

Grilled Artichokes with Garlic & Romano Cheese

Grilled artichokes 4

Have you ever eaten an artichoke?

I know to a lot of folks it’s one of those vegetable that they just have never been exposed to. It’s not a friendly looking vegetable. It’s spikey and picky and you have to clean it and trim it and that can take up some time, but I think it’s so worth it. There isn’t another vegetable that tastes like an artichoke.

I grew up eating them. Whether is was stuffed with cheese, garlic and breadcrumbs then boiled until tender and delicious, or chopped and fried in olive oil and made into one of my most favorite ways to eat them….an artichoke omelet. They have always been one of my favorite vegetables.

My Nonna and Nonno would come on Sundays from Framingham, MA, bags of goodies under their arms, and I would always look to see if artichokes were in the bags, cause that meant that my Nonna would be making an omelet.

Heaven.

My Nonna is no longer with us, and my Mom took over making the omelets. I think I need to make one and share it with you guys. Putting that on my “to-do” list right now.

Grilled artichokes

In the meantime, I want to share this simple recipe for grilled artichokes.

Yes the prep takes a little bit of time, but it’s so worth every single bite.

Here is a diagram to show you all the different parts of an artichoke.

artichoke parts

I based this recipe on one I saw on Proud Italian Cook’s site.

Grilled Artichokes with Garlic and Romano Cheese
4 large artichokes
3 cloves minced garlic
Romano cheese
Olive oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh lemon

To prep the artichoke:
With a vegetable peeler, trim off just a little of the outside stem. Now you need to trim the outer leaves. It’s easiest to do this with a pair of kitchen scissors. Just cut off a little over half the hard outer leaves with the stem on it, leaving just a little under half on the choke. Quarter the artichokes, leaving the stem intact. Place them in a large pot of boiling water. Don’t get a roaring boil going, just a gentle boil. Boil under tender. Don’t let them get really soft or they will fall apart on the grill, you just want them tender enough so a toothpick can be easily inserted. It took about 15 for mine to get tender. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. Once the artichokes are cool enough to handle, you need to clean out the choke.

To clean the artichoke:
With a small paring knife remove the fuzzy choke part and the some of the inner leaves. You will be able to feel the ones that need to come out. They are a little prickly. Now you are ready to put on the garlic and cheese and get them ready for the grill.

I took a big bowl and tossed all the artichokes in olive oil. You don't want to drench them, just give them a nice coating. Next I mixed the chopped garlic and Romano cheese together, then I just opened the leaves a little and sprinkled some in each one. Sprinkle some Kosher salt over each one then grill until the cheese gets crusty and brown. You will need to turn them a few times while they cook. Drizzle with lemon when they come off the grill.

Eating the artichoke:
To eat them I just pull off the outer leaves and scrape the bottoms with my teeth and then I eat the stem and heart (my absolute favorite part).

These are great served as an appetizer.


Grilled artichokes 2
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