See that platter of grilled artichokes? After we shot the photos for this post we were hungry and in need of a snack. We ended up eating the whole thing. All of them. Maybe it was that fantastic lemon, garlic, olive oil, and butter dipping sauce. They were so good! You’ve got to try them. Grilled artichokes make a great side dish for summer grilling, gatherings and entertaining.
How to Make Grilled Artichokes
The short answer is trim them, steam them, split them in half, remove the fuzz (the choke), brush with olive oil then grill briefly until you get charred edges. Timing will depend the size of your artichokes. You can cook them the day ahead, then chill, then grill to save time.
How to Prep Artichokes for Cooking
Artichokes first need to be cooked on the stove top before grilling. You can either steam or boil them. To prep artichokes for cooking, first trim the stem flat to the base.
Next, slice off the top quarter to third of the artichoke. Using a serrated knife makes it a lot easier. With kitchen scissors, trim remaining leaf tips of barbs.
To prevent artichokes from turning brown, rub artichokes with a lemon half. Use those lemons to add to the cooking pot.
How To Cook Artichokes
Choose a pot large enough to hold your artichokes a flat layer. If you are doing lots of artichokes or really big ones, you might need two pots.
Place artichokes in the pot and add about two inches of water. Squeeze in the spent lemons from your prep work. Add a bay leaf, some smashed, peeled garlic cloves, salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and some herbs – either fresh thyme sprigs or a sprinkle of dried thyme or a dried herb blend like Herbs de Provence or Thai basil (see source tip at end).
Place lid on top, turn heat to medium high and bring pot to where steam is coming out from under the lid. Turn heat down to medium low and steam artichokes until tender.
How to Test Doneness
To test, quickly remove an artichoke from the pot and test by pulling a leaf from the inner area. If it comes out easily the artichokes are done. It you have to tug, give them a few more minutes until a leaf comes out easily.
When artichokes are done, remove them from the pot and allow to cool enough to handle. While they are warm, slice them from top to bottom with a large heavy sharp knife and remove the fuzzy center choke. You can scrape them out with a spoon.
Get Ready For Grilling
To get artichokes ready to grill. Sprinkle artichoke halves with salt and pepper, then brush lightly with olive oil. Next, get your grill hot and the grates scraped clean. Oil the grates to help prevent any sticking.
Place artichokes on a hot grill for just a minute or two, until you get charred edges. Remove artichokes from then grill and place on a platter for serving. Serve with a lemon-olive oil-butter-garlic mixture to dip the leaves and heart in.
Extra grill tip – put a cut lemon or two on the grill with the artichokes. The flavor of grilled lemons is amazing!
For years I’ve purchased dried organic Thai Basil and organic Bay Leaves from AllStar Organics. I discovered them on a trip to San Francisco at the Ferry Building farmers market.
Allstar Organics is a certified organic family farm since 1994, with fields in Marin and Sonoma counties in Northern California. The farm produces a diverse array of heirloom and specialty crops for Bay Area restaurants and groceries, health food stores, curated specialty shops, and farmers’ markets. Check out their website.
- 3 large artichokes
- 2-3 lemons Meyers if you can get them, divided use
- 3 large garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 handful of fresh thyme sprigs or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried leaves
- Sea salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (+ 2 more teaspoons) divided use
Lemon-Garlic Dipping Sauce
- 4 tablespoons butter I use unsalted, clarified butter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- To trim artichokes - Cut the stem end flush to the base, then cut off the top 1/3 of the artichoke. Using a serrated knife makes it easier. Trim the sharp barbs from the leaf tips with scissors. Rub the artichokes all over with a cut lemon as you work to minimize any browning.
- Place artichokes in a large pot big enough to hold them in a single layer pot. Add about two inches of water. Squeeze in the spent lemons from your prep work. Add the bay leaf, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, 2 teaspoons olive oil and herbs.
- Place lid on top, turn heat to medium high and bring pot to where steam is coming out from under the lid. Turn heat down to medium low and steam artichokes until tender. Timing will depend on size, from 25-45- minutes.
- When artichokes are done, remove them from the pot and allow to cool enough to handle. While they are warm, slice them from top to bottom with a large sharp knife and remove the fuzzy center choke. You can scrape them out with a spoon.
- To grill artichokes, heat a gas grill to high and scrape the grates clean with a wire brush. Brush the cut side with the 1 leftover tablespoon of olive oil and place the hot grill. Grill for just a couple of minutes until edges are golden and a bit charred, then remove and serve with the dipping sauce.
- To grill lemons, cut 1-2 in half, brush with a little oil and grill halves along with the artichokes until surface is golden.
- To make the dipping sauce, melt all ingredients together in the microwave or a small pot and stir. Adjust seasoning for your taste with salt and pepper.
To test artichokes for doneness, quickly remove an artichoke from the pot and test by pulling a leaf from the inner area. If it comes out easily the artichokes are done. It you have to tug, give them a few more minutes until a leaf comes out easily.
Note - This recipe will serve 3 for whole artichokes or 6 for half artichokes. It will depend if you are serving any other appetizers, or how artichokes crazy your guests are. If the artichokes are really huge, half a one is usually good f per person.