Our first experience with grilled artichokes was right after we moved to California. Our friends in Sonoma broke out the grill and made a huge platter of grilled artichokes with homemade aioli. You fill the cup, formed by cleaning the fuzzy choke before grilling, to hold the aioli for dipping. It was so much fun sitting on the patio in the sun picking the charred leaves from the grilled artichokes and dipping the leaves into creamy lemon aioli. The best part – after you’ve finished all the leaves, the tender artichoke heart is already coated in aioli.
The cooking time varies depending on the size of the artichoke. The key is to check to see if the choke is fully cooked. You can use a small knife and see if it goes into the base easily. You don’t want to over cook them because the leaves will begin to fall off when you handle the artichoke. We have found typically for large globe artichokes chokes that about 20-25 minutes of boiling works well. For smaller artichokes, start checking at around 10 minutes.
For a dipping sauce, we suggest using mayonnaise or aioli. Our friends, the Denton’s who own Ox in Portland, suggest dipping them in espelette mayo from their book Around the Fire. Use homemade mayonnaise or Duke’s brand along with some lemon juice, garlic powder, and espelette pepper.
Easy California Grilled Artichokes
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- olive oil
- Add artichokes, garlic, and enough water to cover them to a large pot. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the choke is just tender. For large artichokes, about 20-25 minutes. You can place a heat-proof plate on top of the artichokes to keep them submerged. As this traps heat, we would suggest reducing the cooking time by 5-10 minutes. See note on cooking time above.
- Lift each artichoke from the water upside down to allow water to drain off back into the pot and allow it to cool so you can handle them.
- Cut each artichoke in half vertically, such that the stem and artichoke are both cut in half.
- Scoop out the fuzzy choke and the very small center spiky leaves with a spoon. If the artichoke is cooked enough, this should be very easy to remove. Cover until you’re ready to grill.
- When you are ready to grill, drizzle the artichokes generously with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place each artichoke cut-side down on the grill and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for a remaining 2-3 minutes or until you have some grill marks.
- Serve with aioli or homemade mayonnaise for dipping.