Artichokes are actually a thistle, and the bud, if left unchecked, will develop into a bright blue flower. However, I was introduced to the artichoke via canned marinated hearts, often found in salad bars. I knew that it was common to eat artichokes with an elaborate procedure of dipping the leaves in some kind of sauce, and then scraping the leaves with your teeth. But I never actually experienced this ritual until I moved to California at the age of 23. And even then, I wasn’t particularly impressed – it seemed like so much work for so little yield! So with the exception of occasionally sauteing the baby artichokes I found at the farmer’s market, I didn’t mess with the big guys.
Around September, Matt came home from the garden nursery with a pack of artichoke plants. We planted them in the newly-established raised bed we had built in the front yard. A month later we came back from a 3-week trip to Peru, and those front yard artichokes were different beasts- they were huge! A friend described the plants as “prehistoric-looking.”
They continued to explode in size, and this spring we were ecstatic to find they had little buds. And then more buds. Fast forward to May: we are drowning in artichokes. We give them away by the bag-full, we grill them in batches, and cannot eat them fast enough. I’m sure the flow will peter out soon, but until then.. its artichoke heaven.
Medium-to-large globe artichokes, with 3-5″ of stem attached (if possible)
Start a large pot of salted water to boil, enough to cover the artichokes. Wash the artichokes to get rid of any dirt and/or hiding bugs. Cut in half, and scrape out the fuzzy inedible choke with a spoon. Squeeze lemon juice over the cut size to prevent browning.
Drop artichoke halves in boiling water, and boil for about 10 minutes. Remove from water, and coat generously with olive oil, salt, and pepper, particularly the heart.
When the grill is hot, place the halves, cut side UP, on the grill. Grill for 10 minutes. Turn the artichokes over and grill the cut side for 5 minutes. Remove fromthe grill, squeeze additional lemon over artichokes if desired, and start eating! (If you want step-by-step directions on how to eat an artichoke, wikiHow has it covered here)
*If you wanted to use baby artichokes instead, you would simply cut them in half (don’t scrape out the choke – its not developed yet), boil for 5-7 minutes, and follow the steps from there.