Sweet and tangy, these caramelized grilled artichokes with balsamic vinegar make an elegant and simple appetizer.
Is it just me or are food bloggers obsessed with desserts? I understand the appeal of something sweet, decadent and gooey to entice and attract readers. We’re only human. I’m guilty of it myself!
But you don’t see people going ga-ga over a roasted chicken, meatloaf or salad like you do over a coma-inducing chocolate cake. Do you? Don’t get me wrong. I adore desserts. When I plan a party, I typically plan the dessert first. It really is the most important part of a meal!
All about artichokes
The artichoke is technically a flower bud from the thistle plant that has not opened all of the way. A variety of them grow wild here in California and I’ve seen the beautiful blooming flower grow. The most common of the artichokes, the ones we see in the grocery store, is the globe artichoke.
Artichokes are really easy to grow, especially for the absent-minded gardener (ahem! ahem!). Because they grow so well in coastal California, that means they like our mild winters. Heavy rains from the winter, makes them bloom and blossom in the spring. The plant dies back in the summer months and grows back again in the winter.
How to clean and prepare artichokes
The large varieties of artichokes have a hairy choke in the center, while the small baby versions do not. Artichokes can be roasted, grilled, braised, stuffed and even steamed. However you cook them, artichokes do require some cleaning.
If the tips of your artichoke leaves have thorns, you will want to cut them all off. Using a serrated knife, cut off approximately ¼ to ½-inch off the top of the artichoke. Remove the smaller and thicker leaves towards the bottom of the stem.
The stem of the artichoke is edible, so do not remove it completely. Do only leave about 1-inch of the stem as the rest of the stem can taste bitter. Give the cut part of the artichoke a drizzle of lemon juice to keep it from browning.
How to grill artichokes
As you can see, the leaves of the artichoke are many and compact. So it does take some time to cook an artichoke. Even when I grill artichokes, I like to steam them for a little bit first. Once the artichokes are mostly, but not all the way cooked, remove the artichokes from their steam bath. You can tell the doneness of the artichoke by piercing it with a fork or knife.
Once cool enough to touch, cut the artichokes in half and scoop out the fuzzy center. Coat the halved artichokes with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, then grill the beauties for about 7 minutes on each side.
When done, drizzle more delicious olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the grilled artichokes and enjoy!
It’s okay. You can go ga-ga over them, too. I won’t tell anyone.
More artichoke recipes
- Chile-Lime Roasted Artichokes
- Braised Baby Purple Artichokes with Olive Oil and Wine
- Sangria Artichoke with Garlic Butter
- Italian Stuffed Artichokes
- Braised Baby Artichokes and Mushrooms with Garlic and Lemon
- Tequila Lime Roasted Artichokes
- Steamed Artichokes with Garlic Mayonnaise
- 2 artichokes
- 2 TBS plus 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 TBS plus 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- Wash artichokes and pat dry. 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.
- In a large bowl whisk together 2 TBS olive oil with 1 TBS balsamic vinegar.
- Place halved artichokes into the bowl and pour marinade all over it.
- Press the artichokes into the marinade, cut side down and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Heat your grill to high heat and oil the grates.
- Place artichokes on the hot grill and cook for 7-10 minutes on each side, pressing down gently with a spatula or panini press.
- Remove from the grill and place artichokes on a serving plate.
- Drizzle remaining olive oil and vinegar over the artichokes and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately.
Serving Size:½ artichoke
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 9.5gSaturated Fat: 1.4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 224mgCarbohydrates: 8.6gFiber: 4.4gSugar: 0.8gProtein: 2.7g