A few weeks ago my husband and I celebrated our 12th year anniversary. Sometimes, with the day-to-day craziness that goes on in our house with our three kids, we feel like coworkers – handling mini-crisis after crisis, passing a crying child to the other, going through the motions of dinner, homework, brush, floss, bedtime. And you look back and say, “Hey, we’ve been married 12 years?”
This year we reminded ourselves that we were a couple, not just partners, so we welcomed a night out to eat anywhere kid-unfriendly. We drove up the coast and found ourselves in Carlsbad. We decided to eat at one of favorite restaurants, Coyote Bar & Grill, enjoyed the live music outside next to their fire pits, and ordered up some chile lime artichokes.
How to choose an artichoke
Although we are fortunate to have a fruitful artichoke plant in our backyard and even though I get sent gorgeous artichokes by my favorite sponsors, I still find myself buying artichokes at the store. Choosing the right artichoke isn’t very difficult.
You want a tightly packed artichoke with all of the leaves intact. The stem should be green like the rest of the artichoke. When you hold the artichoke and squeeze it, it should have make squeaking sounds as the leaves rub together. Sounds silly, but it’s true.
How to steam artichokes
Even though we are grilling these artichokes, I still like to steam them before grilling. This keeps the artichokes from drying out on the hot grill. So trim the thick leaves on the bottom of the artichoke, trim the tips that have thorns and cut off about ½-inch of the artichoke top.
I like to rub some lemon juice along the cut side of the artichoke to keep it from browning and oxidizing. Then steam these babies in a steamer basket or in a pot with just ¼-inch of boiling water. You do not want to completely steam the artichokes, just steam it most of the way. The artichoke will finish cooking on the grill.
Once the artichokes are partially cooked, remove them from the pot and let them cool off. Once cool enough to touch, cut the artichokes in half lengthwise. Now is the time to remove hairy choke center. Gently remove it and discard it.
Season your artichokes before grilling
Now that the artichokes are halved and the hairy center is removed, coat both sides of the artichoke generously with olive oil. In a small bowl mix together the chile lime spice mix: a combination of paprika, chile pepper, garlic salt, lemon pepper and citric acid. Rub this mix all over the cut side of the artichoke.
The powdered citric acid is what gives this spice mix the tart zing that makes these artichokes so incredible. I found citric acid at my middle eastern market in their spice aisle, but you can also find citric acid here on amazon.
You want it totally coated in the spices, even pressing them into the cracks and crevices of the artichoke. Turn the artichoke over and smother the outside of the artichoke with the spice mix as well. Again, completely coat both sides of the artichoke with this spice mix. Now you are ready for the grill!
We grilled the artichokes over high heat, listening to them make sizzling sounds while they cook. Grill each side until lightly charred and the artichoke is tender, about 7 minutes for each side. If your artichokes are burning too quickly, reduce heat to medium-high.
You want the outside of the artichoke to crunchify, not burn. Yes, I believe that’s a culinary term. And if it’s not, it should be.
Chile Lime Dipping Sauce
I mixed a little of the spice mix in with mayo and a splash of lemon juice to make the dipping sauce. The hubs and I sat in our backyard, turned on some music and it was like we were back at Coyote Bar & Grill.
Some foods just take you to another world. And now, I can enjoy these fabulous artichokes in the comfort of my own home, amongst my three favorite short people.
Because you all know what you end up talking about when you are away from your kids? Yup, you talk about your kids.
- 1 TBS paprika
- ¾ tsp chile powder
- ¾ tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp lemon pepper
- ½ tsp citric acid powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tsp lime juice, divided
- 1 tomato, diced
- ¼ cup diced onions
- 2 TBS diced cilantro
- 2 artichokes
- 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- In a small bowl, mix together paprika, chile powder, garlic salt, lemon powder, citric acid and ½ tsp salt.
- In a separate bowl, mix together mayonnaise and 1 tsp lime juice.
- Stir in ¾ tsp of spice mix and refrigerate dip until ready to use.
- In another bowl, combine diced tomatoes, onions and cilantro with 2 tsp lime juice. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Wash and pat dry:
- 2 artichokes
- Using a serrated knife, cut off the top quarter of each artichoke.
- Cut the bottom stem so that the artichoke can sit flat and cut the leaf tips of the remaining artichoke leaves with kitchen shears.
- Bring a large pot with an inch of water to boil.
- Add a steam basket and place the artichokes into the basket, top side up. If you do not have a steam basket, reduce water to ½-inch deep and place artichokes directly into the boiling water.
- Cover the pot and steam the artichokes on medium heat until slightly under-cooked.
- Remove artichokes from the steam basket and allow to rest until cool enough to handle, about 10-15 minutes.
- Cut the artichokes in half, revealing the heart.
- Carefully remove the fuzz and small leaves from the inside of the artichokes, but keep the rest of the artichoke intact.
- Heat your grill to high heat and oil the grates.
- Place the artichokes, cut side up on a baking sheet and brush the inside and outside of each artichoke with olive oil.
- Sprinkle both the inside and outside of each artichoke half with spice mix.
- Place artichokes on the hot grill and cook for 7-10 minutes on each side, pressing down with a spatula or panini press.
- Remove from the grill and place on serving platter. Top with chopped tomato mix and serve with chile lime dip.
Serving Size:½ artichoke
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 298Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 1027mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g