Artichokes seem to be a mystery to some folks. I grew up eating – and loving – them and my mom always served them with plenty of melted butter mixed with lemon juice. I’ve always been a fan, and have made them all sorts of ways, from deep-fried baby artichokes to stuffed and baked with garlicky breadcrumbs, to simply steamed and served with a sauce.
To my husband and daughter, who had never tried artichokes prior to me making this latest version, they were a revelation. Now, whenever I’m at the store, my daughter begs me to buy an artichoke, like it was a pint of chocolate ice cream or something.
This version is pretty simple if you’ve already fired up the grill. Once prepped, just steam them until fairly tender, then throw them on the grill to crisp them up and add smoky flavor. The romesco sauce, a Spanish sweet pepper and almond sauce, that I serve with them can be made quickly and easily in the food processor in advance. Just store it in the fridge for up to 1 week before serving.
To eat an artichoke, simply pull off the leaves and scrape the tender meat at the bottom of each leaf off with your teeth. Once you get down to the heart (the base and stem of the artichoke), you can slice it up and douse it with sauce.
This recipe makes more sauce that you will need for your artichokes, but it’s super versatile. I love to serve it alongside grilled chicken and pork chops, or slathered on thick slices of grill-toasted bread with a fresh green salad.
Recipe: Grilled Artichokes with Romesco Sauce
Makes 4 servings as a side dish
- 1 large tomato, halved crosswise
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 slice crusty white bread, crust removed and bread cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1 (7.25–8 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained (I used roasted piquillo peppers)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
For the romesco sauce
- 2 large globe artichokes
- 1 lemon, halved crosswise
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- To make the romesco sauce: preheat the oven to 400F. Place the tomato, cut side down on one side of a rimmed baking sheet and arrange the garlic next to it. On the other side, add the bread and almonds. Drizzle the bread with a little olive oil and toss to coat. Roast in the oven until the bread and almonds are toasted, about 5 minutes. Add the roasted red peppers, oil, vinegar, paprika, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Remove the bread and almonds from the oven, once toasted, and transfer to the food processor. Continue to roast the tomato and garlic for another 10 minutes. Remove the tomato peel and discard. Transfer the tomato and garlic to the food processor. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl. (Can be made up to 5 days in advance; store in an airtight container in the fridge.)
- To prepare the artichokes, using a serrated knife, cut off the top 1-inch of the artichoke. Using kitchen shears, snip off the pointy tips of the leaves. Using a paring knife or peeler, trim the stem and peel away the tough outer fibers. As you trim the artichoke, rub the cut areas with the lemon.
- Halve the artichokes lengthwise. Use a small metal spoon to scoop out and remove the fuzzy chokes and the smaller inner leaves; discard. Rub the artichoke halves all over with the lemon.
- Fill a large pot with about 1 inch of water and fit with a steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and add the artichoke halves, cut sides down. Cover and steam until the heart of the artichoke and the stem is tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes. (You don’t need them to be overly tender as they will continue to cook on the grill.)
- Set up a charcoal or gas grill for medium-high indirect heat (or preheat a stovetop grill pan). Brush the grill grate with oil. Brush the artichokes all over with the oil and season with salt. Grill, turning occasionally, until the artichokes are nicely grill-marked and tender.
- Transfer to a serving platter and serve at once with the romesco for dipping.