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Grilled Marinated Baby Artichokes in Olive Oil with Oregano and Red Pepper
Or, what to do when gifted a box of baby artichokes.
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One of the perks of being married to someone who works with produce is that you tend to get gifted some truly delectable goodies. In this case, it was a large box of baby artichokes. They were slightly past their prime, but still totally usable. So, while I wasn’t going to eat them raw, i.e. thinly sliced and tossed with olive oil, lemon and shaved Parmigiano, I was certainly going to eat them. All of them. And in this case, I started out by making marinated artichokes, which are fantastic on their own eaten right out of the jar, but are equally as great as a topping for some pizza or perfect in a not-quite-caesar salad.
Full disclosure, this was my first time making marinated artichokes and the process was surprisingly easy. Just give yourself some time for the prep. They do take a bit of trimming to get down to the good stuff, but your time is well spent. Once trimmed and prepped, the artichokes were boiled until very tender, then given a quick blast on the grill to get some char (a totally optional, but highly recommended step). Then, the artichokes are packed in a jar, covered in oil, a bit of vinegar and your spices of choice. I used chili flakes and dried oregano. Feel free to choose your own adventure here.
Ok, now onto the recipe…
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
40 baby artichokes - as many as you want
1/2 c diamond crystal salt
1 1/2 c distilled while vinegar
2 c olive oil - more or less
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
pinch dried oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
black pepper - fresh ground
To prep the artichokes cut off the top third, trim off the dried bottom portion of the stem, and then start pulling off the outer leaves until you get to the tender inner part. I usually go to where the leaves start to feel smooth. Once they loose that ribbed texture you know you’ve reached the edible bit. If you aren’t quite sure, pull off a leaf and take a bite. If it’s tough, keep pulling. If you’ve never trimmed an artichoke before it’ll seem like you’re remove a TON of leaves, and you are, that’s just the way it is.
Once trimmed immediately place your artichokes in a bowl of acidulated water. They’re going to oxidize pretty quickly, don’t be alarmed. Fill a large bowl with water, add in a halved lemon, squeeze all that juice in there, and roughly 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Let them sit there while you continue to get everything trimmed and prepped.
To cook your artichokes, drain off all that acidulated water and then boil them in a large pot of water with 1/2 cup salt and 1 cup white vinegar. You can also throw in another halved lemon if you have it. I boiled these for 20 minutes. You want them super tender. Check at 15 minutes, and cook for as long as you need. To check doneness, pierce them with a knife. It should slide in super easily.
Once super tender, remove the artichokes from the water and arrange upside down on a towel lined tray. Let them cool and drain for at least 10 minutes, but more if you have the time. You want them cool enough to easily handle.
Slice in half lengthwise and grill them over high heat for a few minutes on each side. You’re not trying to cook them, just imparting another layer of delicious grilled flavor.
Then, place them in a jar (or any tight fitting container) and top it up with your olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper and chili flakes. I suggest trying to fit them in as tightly as possible, that way you can use a little less oil. But just a heads up, you’re gonna need a lot of oil for this.
Eat some right away, cause I know you, like me, cannot contain yourself. Then stash the rest in the fridge for later. Also, be aware that since you’re using olive oil, then refrigerating it, that oil is going to solidify. Don’t be alarmed. Just take out those ‘chokes a few minutes before you’re going to use them so everything warms up a bit and re-liquifies.
I would also like to reiterate that your are using a lot of oil for this recipe. And I would recommend high quality oil here. But you don’t need to let any leftover oil got to waste, I’ve been using it for salad dressings, as a base for pasta sauces and even as the oil added to a focaccia I made. Save that oil. It’s delicious.
The pizza and a salad with the artichokes.
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