Grilled Artichokes and Lemons

Photo of Grilled Artichokes and Lemons on a serving platterWhen life hands you…Artichokes
Nothing says spring more than a fresh artichoke. Add some lemons to that mental picture and it would be easy to see yourself on the coast of the Mediterranean, in the country of your choosing. Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? A little sun. A light snack of a grilled artichoke with some lovely aioli and, if you’re feeling frisky, some grilled lemons as well. Ahhhh…..

While I can’t transport that European sun, sand, or the smell of the Mediterranean Sea breeze, I can do my best to replicate the snack part. Sure, you could cook artichokes the old-fashioned way by steaming them. But, there is something about throwing them on the grill that raises the game and adds a bit more worldly sophistication.

If you have never tried a grilled lemon, today should be the day. Grilling lemons heats them up and helps to release the juice but it also mellows out the acidity and gives the flavor a little smoke. I could go all science-y about it but trust me on this, lemons are good on the grill.

The weather is supposed to be almost perfect this weekend. What better way to celebrate than by bringing a little bit of the Mediterranean to your backyard?

Grilled Artichokes and Lemons Recipe
Adapted from Home Cooked Harvest and The Spruce Eats
Yields 4 servings

For the artichokes
4 fresh, whole artichokes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt
freshly ground pepper

For the lemons
1 lemon, adjust quantity as needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt

For the Lemon Aioli
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves 1 teaspoon, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Make the Lemon Aioli
Start by making the aioli so it has time to chill in the fridge. Whisk together the mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice, garlic, and minced parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place the Lemon Aioli in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Start the Grill
If you are using charcoal or wood, bring the grill up to medium-high heat (about 350° to 400°). *If you are using propane, wait to start the grill until after draining the artichokes from the boiling water (see below).

Boil the water
Fill a very large pot full of water, you will need enough to cover the artichokes. Add some salt and bring up to a boil.

Prep the artichokes
While the water is coming to a boil, rinse the artichokes well under running water. Tear off any small, loose leaves at the bottom of the artichoke. Trim the ends of the stems and cut about 1 inch off the top of the artichokes. Snip off the leaf tips with the sharp points with scissors.

Par boil the artichokes
Gently place the artichokes into the boiling water, and bring the water back up to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pot. Simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Drain the water and place artichokes upside down on a clean towel or baking sheet to dry, pat dry with paper towels as needed.

*If using propane, light the grill now.

Finish prepping the artichokes
Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise. Remove the choke (the inedible spiky part of the artichoke) with a small spoon or melon baller, being careful not to scoop out the soft heart.

Make the marinade
In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Brush the mixture onto the cut side of the artichokes.

Prep the lemons
Rinse the lemons clean and give them a scrub if you intend to eat the peel. Pat them dry. To release extra juice, roll them between your palm and a hard surface like the counter. Cut the lemons in half crosswise. Pop out and toss any visible seeds.

Use a pastry brush or a paper towel to brush the cut sides with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle the cut sides with a little fine sea salt.

Grill the artichokes
Place artichokes cut side down onto the hot grill for about 10 minutes with lid closed. Flip the artichokes over and cook (about 5 more minutes).

Grill the lemons
In the last few minutes of grilling the artichokes, set the lemons cut side down on the hot grill. Cook until the lemons are heated through and charred on the cut side (about 3 minutes).

To serve Grilled Artichokes and Lemons
Serve the artichokes with the Lemon Aioli for dipping and grilled lemons alongside.

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