The cultured globe artichokes that we find in the grocery store now are descendants of the cardoon, a member of the thistle family. The many versions of the origin and history of the artichoke are conflicting, but it’s safe to say they came from the Mediterranean region. This green vegetable packs an impressive nutritional wallop. It has been used for centuries as a digestive aid; has been shown to increase bile production in the liver which aids the body’s natural detoxifying process; it’s great for cardiovascular health and loaded with antioxidants and fiber. If this doesn’t impress you then perhaps it’s reputation for being a potent aphrodisiac will. At least that is what the courtesans of the 16th century believed!!!
Preparing artichokes can be somewhat of a challenge for the faint of heart, but it’s really quite easy once you get the hang of it. There are plenty of tutorials on utube to walk you through the process. Keep in mind that it is important to keep a large bowl of acidulated water next to your prep area so that you can put your cleaned and sliced artichokes into it. Much like potatoes or apples they oxidize once exposed to air. Artichoke season typically runs from March to May and when you see them in the market it’s a sure sign that spring is in the air! Personally, I like to use them in my spring tablescapes and floral arrangements.
Whole steamed artichokes became popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s served with a butter or Hollandaise dipping sauce where you pulled the leaves off and dragged them trough your teeth to remove the heart at the base of the leaf. Today they play a more versatile role in the American kitchen. They work well in pasta, chicken and fish dishes and perfect for a salad. Many popular restaurants serve them grilled as an appetizer with a dipping sauce and that is just what we have recreated for you here.
Grilled Artichokes with Remoulade Sauce
(this serves 4 people – 1/2 per person)
2 Large Artichokes
1 lemon quartered
3/4 cup olive oil
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 teas salt
1/2 teas black pepper0
Trim the tops and end of the leaves, cut in half lengthwise and remove the fuzzy, inedible choke
Immediately place them in a bowl of lemon water until ready to steam or boil
Bring a large pot of water to a boil or set up a steamer basket and steam or boil for approximately 15 minutes
Mix lemon, garlic, salt and pepper together and brunch on artichokes
Place on preheated grill and grill for 5 to 10 minutes basting and turning frequently until slightly charred
Careful not to burn!
2 cups of your favorite mayonnaise
3 tbls sweet green relish
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 teas capers
1 tbls Dijon mustard
1 tbls lemon juice
1/2 teas Worcesterhire sauce
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together well and serve along side the grilled artichokes