Artichokes are one of those wondrous garden plants that make both beautiful purple flowers when in bloom and if you are willing to forgo the pleasures of that bright blossom, a delicious appetizer. These vegetables seem finicky to people who have never cooked them but don't be thrown off by their prickly tips and thistled center. They are actually very easy to cook!
Typically, when we think of an artichoke appetizer, we think of a veggie that had been boiled until soft and then dipped in butter or another sauce. In the summer, I love to grill these veggies as a nice alternative to this dipping appetizer because, after being marinated and grilled, the need for a sauce is eliminated and grilling gives the artichoke a nice smokey flavor. This is also a great make-ahead recipe. I like to boil and marinate my artichokes, then bring them ready to grill tofamily Sunday dinner. This may seem like a high-maintenance recipe (Trim? Boil? Marinate? THEN grill?), but you only really spend about 20 minutes work time and the rest is in the waiting for the veggie to boil and marinate.
An easy way to trim artichokes is to simply slice 1-2 inches off the top of the artichoke. This will take care of most of the thorny parts. Then, using scissors, clip any of the remaining thorns. You'll notice I used smaller artichokes for this recipe--not quite the super tiny ones, but the size of a tennis ball. You can feel free to adapt this recipe for a larger artichoke or several extra-small ones, just make sure to adjust the boiling time accordingly (the bigger the artichoke, the longer the boiling time). The marinade quantity stays the same.
4 small artichokes
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon rosemary
salt to taste
Trim artichokes and place in a pot of boiling water. Boil for approximately 40 minutes or until the leaves of artichokes pull off easily; I use a pair of tongs to test their readiness. Remove artichokes from water and allow to cool for about 20 minutes. Then slice artichokes in half and remove the inedible inner thistle.
Place halved artichokes in a container and drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, garlic, herbs, and salt. Let sit for at least an hour. For best results, let sit overnight in the fridge and bring to room temperature before grilling.
Heat grill (either indoor or outdoor). Place artichoke halves face down and grill for approximately 5 minutes or until they are a nice golden brown. Flip and cook rounded side for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Serves 4-8.
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