Gettin’ Some Smoke On The Choke, The Artichoke That Is
I’m always looking for something new to throw on the grill, and on this day, I was reminded of an artichoke that I tucked away in the fridge several days ago.
I approached it in the same manner that many other grillers do. I first took a pair of scissors and cut the top of all the leaves off, generally about a quarter to a third of each leaf. I used a vegetable peeler to shave some of the outer part of the stem as well. And since the artichoke has a kind of hard, woody exterior, it is a general consensus that it is best to parboil it a bit to slightly soften it. Next, after quartering it, and removing the “fuzzy” choke, it went into a pot of softly boiling, salted water with a quarter cup or so of lemon juice to keep it from turning dark too fast.
After about ten to twelve minutes, the artichoke was taken out of the boiling water and placed under cold water to immediately stop the cooking process. The rest of the cooking will be done as it should be, outside over a wood fire and wood chips for flavor and aroma.
After the artichoke is cooled, it’s time to gently spread all the leaves out, lightly coat them inside and out with oil, olive or other, your choice, and add the seasonings to the leaves. I sprinkled granulated garlic, sea salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and for a bit of texture, some panko crumbs. This combination can be amended to include whatever types of herbs and/or spices that you like. Don’t be afraid to experiment, or even to make each piece of the artichoke different, perhaps incorporating red pepper, crushed bacon, or any other things you have in your pantry.
Now, finally, we go to the grill, and set the pieces over direct heat.
Stay with the grill, and turn/rotate the quartered artichokes every three minutes.
Keep rotating for about twelve minutes total, or until the artichoke feels tender to the touch.
When done, put the artichokes in a bowl, and squeeze a bit more lemon juice over them. If you choose, you can also drizzle a bit more olive oil.
To eat these is a “hands on” experience. Pick up the piece of artichoke, tear off a leaf, put it in your mouth and gently bite down, pulling it out while scraping all the goodness out between your teeth. The flavor of the artichoke, with the garlic, lemon, panko and all the other seasonings that you decided to add all come together in one small bite of creamy goodness.
Discard the leaf, and go for another, because even with something as simple as an artichoke,
Life Is Better Wood Fired.