Sunset

In a corner of the test garden these rangy artichoke plants form a silvery backdrop most of the year, but around now, they kick into gear and produce lots of edible flower buds—that’s the part you eat. One of my favorite artichoke recipes is for grilling them. They get a nice smokiness that really enhances their flavor. Today I dressed them up with a Meyer lemon gremolata—even better!

Artichokes growing in the Sunset test garden

You want to pick the buds when they’re still tight—before they open up and bloom like a thistle. 

To trim an artichoke, cut off the top, pull off the small leaves at the base, then snip off the spiny ends from the rest of the leaves.

You can eat artichoke stems too. Just cut off the fibrous outer layer.Grilled artichokes with Meyer lemon gremolata dressing

4 artichokes

2 large Meyer lemons

5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 large garlic cloves, minced

Salt, to taste

1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Trim leaves and stems on artichokes as shown above. Bring 2 in. water to a boil in a big pot. Squeeze juice from the 1 lemon and add it and its shell to water, then add artichokes. Simmer until they’re tender when pierced, about 20 minutes.

2. Drain artichokes and run water over them to cool. Cut them in half, then take out the chokes.

Use a spoon to scoop out the fibrous chokes.3. Zest the remaining lemon and set zest aside. Mix juice from the lemon with 2 tbsp. oil, the garlic, and salt to taste. Brush the mixture all over the artichokes.

4. Grill artichokes, turning once, until grill marks appear, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a platter.

5. Mix the reserved zest with parsley, remaining 3 tbsp. oil, and salt to taste. Spoon dressing into hollows of artichokes.

Wondering if artichokes grow in your climate? The Sunset Plant Finder will tell you.

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