Endless Summer Artichokes with Chipotle Sauce


When I was a kid, my mother had me convinced that artichokes weren’t worth eating. Being the gullible child that I was, and having a deep suspicion of all things vegetable, I believed her—even as she sat enraptured at the dinner table, dipping leaf after leaf into mayonnaise. Eventually, my curiosity won out. I knew full well anything dipped in Best Foods had to be worth a try. I was right!

“You lied!” I accused her. She just smiled and said, “A little. But here, you won’t like the heart. I’ll eat that part for you.”

I had no idea I was giving away the best part! I’m not so gullible now. But to this day, despite knowing better, I still munch on just the leaves. It’s become a small tradition—in all earnestness and yet all cheeze, I give up “my heart” to IZ. He still can’t believe I fell for my mother’s schitck. She was well known for telling people, “Oh that cake? It’s just awful! But, I’ll eat it so it doesn’t go to waste.” I was well known for believing anything. Most people knew she was kidding because cake is above reproach. Vegetables do not have such a reputation. In my defense, she’d tried tempting me with mayo in past. I hadn’t forgotten how repulsive broccoli is and artichokes seemed more than a little bit similar. 

It’s a bit past artichoke season; they peak in May. But you can still find them at local markets and a good grocery store through July. Before they’re completely gone from the stores, I thought I’d share with you our preferred way of eating them. IZ managed to recreate this recipe from our  favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara. They’re a lot of work, but I promise, so worth the effort.  Just remember to guard your heart and only give it away to someone worthy!


Endless Summer Artichokes

Step 1 -Boiling Water

* Add enough water for Artichokes to cook submerged.
* Add salt to flavor.
* Add lemon juice to flavor.
* Add garlic or garlic powder to flavor.
* Add Italian spices to flavor.
* Bring to boil.

Step 2 -Prep (While water comes to boil)
* Cut off the tips from the stems of the Artichokes.  
* Remove unwanted leaves from the base of the Artichoke.
* Cut off unwanted portion of the base of the Artichoke.
* Cut Artichoke in half.

Step 3 -Cook
* Allow Artichokes to boil until just tender.  Typically around 20 minutes or so.
* When finished, remove Artichokes for cleaning.  At this stage, you can reserve a couple of cups of the cooking liquid for a rice pilaf or cous cous.  This will be far more flavorful than plain water.

Step 4 -Clean
* Using a small knife, cut a line along the Artichoke heart where it meets with the thistles.
* Using a large spoon, scoop out the thistles preserving as many of the Artichoke leaves as possible.
NOTE:  I used to do this BEFORE cooking but have found it much easier to do after the Artichokes have boiled.

Step 5 -Prep for grill
* Mix Butter (you can substitute with something heart friendly like Smart Balance) and garlic powder.  About 1 TBS of butter and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder per Artichoke.  However, the flavor profile is up to you.  If you really like salt, add a little salt to the mix.
* Gently soften the butter in the microwave.  Not melted -just soft.
* Use a cooking brush to dip into the butter /garlic mixture and coat all sides of the Artichoke.  Be sure the mixture gets deep into the leaves and not just on the surface.
NOTE:  If you make an extra amount of the garlic /butter mixture, you can set aside as a dipping option for friends and family that don’t like the flavor of Chipotles.

Step 6 -Place directly on hot (400 to 500 degrees) grill.  Cook leaves side down first for about 7 minutes.  They should be nice and browned.  Cook heart side for no more than about 5 minutes -enough to brown and develop grill marks but not so they are dry and overdone.

Step 7 -Chipotle Dipping Sauce (While Artichokes are on the Grill)
NOTE:  This depends entirely on how hot you like your dipping sauce.
* 1 Medium sized Chipotle from a can
* 2 tsp of the “sauce” from the can
* 4 to 6 TBS of mayonnaise.  (Less = hot, More = mild)
* 1 to 2 tsp of Lemon Juice.  
* BLEND all ingredients well.
* Leftover Chipotle Dipping Sauce can be saved in the refrigerator and used on sandwiches instead of plain mayonnaise.

Serve the cooked Artichokes with the dipping sauce(s) and enjoy!