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Grilled Artichokes
Jun 18th, 2009 by

This side dish, or first course, cleanses the palette preparing the way for more grilled treats.

This side dish, or first course, cleanses the palette preparing the way for more grilled treats.

This recipe from Mario Batali’s Italian Grill cookbook is flavorful with hints of lemon, mint, and salt. The jalapenos may be a little too hot for some, so I recommend serving them as a topping on the side.

  • Ingredients:
  • 6 large artichokes, preferably with stems
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 1 bunch mint, chopped, stems and all, plus about 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves cut into thin slivers
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 to 4 red jalapenos, diced or thinly sliced
  • Course sea salt (or Kosher salt will do in a pinch.)

You can prepare the artichokes early in the day and then throw them on the grill that night.

You can prepare the artichokes early in the day and then throw them on the grill that night.

What I did:

Fill a large pot with 6 cups of water and add the juice of 1 1/2 lemons; add the 3 lemon halves too.

Snap off the tough, outer leaves from one artichoke until you come to the leaves that are pale yellow toward the bottom.

Cut off the top 1 inch of the leaves. As you work, rub the cut surfaces with the remaining lemon half.

Trim off the bottom of the stem, and using a paring knife, trim away the tough outer layer from the stem. Trim any dark green parts from the bottom of the artichoke.

Half the artichoke lengthwise and remove the fuzzy choke (either with a grapefruit spoon or paring knife). Pull out the small purple inner leaves.

Put the trimmed artichoke in the bowl of lemon water and repeat with all of the artichokes.

Add the chopped mint, garlic, olive oil, and wine to the pot. Add more water if needed to cover the artichokes.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until just tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.

Place the artichokes cut side down over the hottest part of the grill and cook, unmoved, for 3 to 5 minutes, until nicely charred. Turn and cook for 5 minutes more, or until golden brown.

Place artichokes on a platter and top with remaining mint and jalapenos (or serve jalapenos on the side). Serve with a bowl of course salt.

Also try the Grilled Pork Chops with Peppers and Capers recipe

Find more recipes in the Food section

(Photos by Mark Micheli)

Tuscan mania, meow
May 12th, 2009 by

OK. Things are really starting to get out of hand. Everywhere you look, products are called Tuscan. It’s as if you slap the label on something and it instantly sells. I’m not sure exactly when this started happening but it was going on long before the book “Under a Tuscan Sun” started selling and was eventually made into a movie.

Tuscan lemonade??

Tuscan lemonade??

Each year it seems to get crazier and crazier. While driving on Route 93 north near Boston the other day, I saw a billboard for Smirnoff’s Tuscan Lemonade . It claims to be flavored with real Limoncello, but Limoncello comes from southern Italy, not Tuscany.

Not even that exaggeration prepared me for the TV commercial I saw last night. They’re now marketing Tuscan food for cats. You heard right: Fancy Feasts is selling a Tuscan recipe line for your feline friend. I have to wonder if in this economy, poor old folks are chasing it down with a Tuscan Lemonade.

(© 2009 Mark Micheli)

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