Grilled Artichokes with Smoky Lemon Mayo

Paula: I’ll be honest, I might choose them over a sizzling strip steak: grilled artichokes are one of my favorite things to cook and eat, especially this time of year when so many spring vegetables shine. They’re especially delicious served with a creamy condiment, like this one made with charred lemons, mayo, and one of my favorite Fire & Smoke Society blends, The Usual.

Scott: I agree that artichokes are delicious - especially grilled - but aren’t they kind of a lot of work?

Paula: You shouldn’t be intimidated by the prep process. Once you get your groove on, it’s easy to trim the prickly leaves (I use a chef’s knife to trim the tops, and kitchen shears to snip off the tops of lower leaves) and scoop out the choke (a paring knife or grapefruit spoon do the trick). Don’t discard the stem! I only trim a sliver of the end before peeling the stem, because it’s one of the most delicious parts of the artichoke.

Grilled Artichokes with Smoky Lemon Mayo

Serves 4

  • 4 large artichokes
  • 1 large lemon
  • Grilled bread, for serving

For the Grilled Lemon Mayo

  • 2 large lemons, halved
  • 1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped soft herbs (any combination of tarragon, chives, mint, basil or parsley)
  • 2 teaspoons The Usual
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (preferably Duke’s)

1. Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium fire, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Carefully wipe the preheated grates with a lightly oiled paper towel. Using a grill brush, scrape the grill grates clean, then carefully wipe with a lightly oiled towel again.

2. On the stove top, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Trim the stem of each artichoke to 1 inch long, then snap off the dark outer leaves. Use a sharp knife to trim off the top 1 inch of the artichoke leaves. Use a paring knife to peel the dark green skin from the stem and base of artichoke. Slice each artichoke in half lengthwise. Use a paring knife to remove the choke and the purple, prickly-tipped leaves from the center of each half. Place the prepped artichokes in a large bowl of cold water with the juice of a lemon. Continue with the remaining artichokes.

3. Drain the artichokes, then cook in the boiling water until just tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 12 minutes. Drain the artichokes.

4. Grill artichokes cut side down over direct heat, turning occasionally, until tender and lightly charred in spots, about 10 minutes. Nestle the remaining 2 lemons, cut side down, among the artichokes and cook until they’re charred and softened, about 4 minutes.

5. To make the mayo, squeeze the juice from the warm grilled lemons into a bowl, discarding the seeds, and then scoop out the flesh, coarsely chop, and add to the juice. Whisk in the olive oil, herbs, and The Usual. Whisk in the mayo, taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve the warm artichokes with mayo on the side, for dipping, and grilled bread.

 

Grill-side banter provided by food writer, cookbook author and grilling enthusiast, Paula Disbrowe, and infamous grill nerd and co-owner of PK Grills, Scott Moody.

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