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Grilled Baby Artichokes
The artichoke is a perennial in the thistle group of the sunflower family and is believed to be a native of the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. In full growth, the plant spreads to cover an area about six feet in diameter and reaches a height of three to four feet. The “vegetable” that we eat is actually the plant’s flower bud. If allowed to flower, the blossoms measure up to seven inches in diameter and are a beautiful violet-blue color. Baby artichokes are not a separate variety but merely smaller versions of larger artichokes. Their size comes from their location on the artichoke plant. They are picked from the lower parts of the artichoke plant where the plant fronds protect them from sun, in effect stunting their growth.
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- 12 Baby Artichokes
- 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- To Taste - Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing
- 1/4 cup Fresh Lemon Juice (about 1 lemon)
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp. Chopped Pitted Black Olives
- To Taste - Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Prepare the Lemon Vinaigrette by wisking all ingredients together, then set aside until ready to use.
- Cut off the top third of each artichoke, snip the sharp tips from the remaining leaves, and trim the bottom slightly so that it’s even all the way around.
- In a large saucepan, bring 1 ½ quarts of water to a boil.
- Add prepared artichokes and cook approximately 7 to 10 minutes or until you can easily pierce them with a fork but they still offer some resistance.
- Drain and immediately immerse in cold water to stop the cooking.
- Cut the artichoke in half lengthwise, sprinkle them with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
- Prepare barbecue grill. Cover barbecue with lid, open any vents, and grill them over a medium-hot fire, cut side down for about 5 minutes, or until the cut sides are well browned.
- Pour the Lemon Vinaigrette over grilled artichokes and toss.
- This can be served right away, but it is much better if allowed to sit for an hour for the flavors to mingle. It will keep, covered and refrigerated, for about 3 days.
Nino Salvaggio http://www.ninosalvaggio.com/