Freckles in April: Grilled Artichokes with Herbed Butter Dipping Sauce

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Grilled Artichokes with Herbed Butter Dipping Sauce

I've never been a huge artichoke fan. My mom made them occasionally while I was growing up but A. I was a veggie hating child, B. she served them with straight mayo for dipping (sick), and C. they're so much work. Then, last year, we went on a group date to this fantastic restaurant in Phoenix called Le Grande Orange and I heard from at least 6 different people that under NO circumstances were we to pass on the grilled artichoke appetizer. I was skeptical but we ordered a few for the table.

Oh. sweet. mercy.

You really just have to go there and try it for yourself but, if you can't be bothered to fly across the country to try a truly incredible artichoke, I guess you can just give my version a try.

The sauce is different (I'm pretty sure theirs was mayo based. I've tried a few recipes and never loved my attempts quite like we loved the original) but this butter dip has a similar bite to it and was so ridiculously good that we dipped our bread in it after our artichokes were gone.

It was so good that I told myself I could justify the $3 to go buy another artichoke if I turned it into a recipe for my blog. Thanks for being my justification, you guys.


A note on prepping artichokes: the leaves have little thorns on the end of them. A lot of people snip them off before cooking but I don't bother. They soften with cooking and aren't a problem when you get around to eating the final product.

Start by rinsing your artichoke in cold water. Then cut off all but one-ish inch of stem. Remove any of the small leaves on the stem.

Trim off an inch of the top.


Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop your artichoke in. Cover and cook (turning occasionally) for 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of your artichoke. Pull it out when a fork inserted into the stem goes in fairly easily and the outer leaves are easy to pull off.

Carefully remove your artichoke from the pot and let it drain upside down.

While the artichoke drains, get out a small microwave-safe dish and stick 3 tablespoons of butter in it. Add a small clove of minced garlic (1/2-3/4 tsp, is my guess, depending on how much you like garlic). Stick it in the microwave and nuke until it's about 90% melted. Then take it out and stir until it finishes melting.

Then, add to taste: a dash of oregano, basil, cayenne and a little rosemary.

 Stir it up and set aside for just a moment.

Grab your artichoke and slice it in half.

Now you need to remove the fuzzy bit (fun fact: it's called the "choke"). Use a small knife to cut a smiley just under the edge of the fuzz and then use a spoon to gently loosen and pull it out. Some of those purple leaves will come out with it and that's fine. Try to avoid pulling out too many leaves though- those middle ones are the best part!

Grab a pastry brush and brush the butter mixture on both front and back of your artichokes. Try and get it between the leaves if you can.

Grate a little parmesan cheese onto your cutting board, grab your tongs, and head out to the grill.

Also, if you are capable of using tongs without singing "The Thong Song" (but with tongs) then you are a better person than me.

(tong tuh-tong tong tongs...)

I usually just grill these on high, mostly because "high" for our grill isn't all that impressive. You're not doing any cooking here, just looking for some char. Use whatever grill setting works for you.

I cook flat side first. I usually move them around a bit while cooking to get a more even char.

Probably could have let it go a little longer but...I was hungry.

Flip them over and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on the flat side.

Let the back side get a little char then use your tongs (...tuh-tong tong tongs) to pull them off the grill.

Dip leaves in the remaining butter and enjoy!

(psst...never had an artichoke before and not entirely sure HOW to eat the thing? Hop on over to this post from Simply Recipes and scroll down to "How to eat an artichoke." The first few leaves are always kind of tough but they get more delicious as you move toward the center!)


  1. Your "smiley cut" photo is, by far, the best I've seen for how to remove the choke. So thank you, off to buy some artichokes!


  2. This post made my mouth water and also made me die laughing. ...tuh tong tong tongs. Hahaha. K but seriously is it too late to run to a grocery store?


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