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Book ‘em Mario
Jun 18th, 2009 by

My favorite sister-in-law who lives in New York, Marilyn Martucci. That's her husband, Fred, peaking out from behind.

My favorite NY sister-in-law, Marilyn Martucci. That's her husband, Fred, peaking out from behind.

My favorite New York sister-in-law and her husband Fred, gave me this cookbook for my birthday earlier this month: Mario Batali Italian Grill.

It’s filled with tantalizing recipes, using basic, simple ingredients put together smartly in the Tuscan way. Batali knows what he’s doing when it comes to Italian cooking, but I have to admit I laughed when I learned he decided early on in his career that he needed to travel to Italy and live there to learn how to make good pasta. My brother and I only had to watch my mother or travel a few miles to Boston to my grandmother’s kitchen.

The book contains recipes for antipasti, pizza, fish, meat and vegetables.

The book contains recipes for antipasti, pizza, fish, meat and vegetables.

When I first got the book, I flipped through the large, bright photos and scanned some of the easy, step-by-step instructions. I was itching to make something but the right alignment of good grilling weather and list of ingredients in my cupboard and fridge didn’t match up until this week. While walking through the supermarket, some beautifully thick pork chops caught my eye — and they were on sale — so I bought them and figured out later how I would cook them.

Sure enough Batali had a good grilling recipe for them in this book.  And when the sun was shining I was grilling and smiling.

(Photos by Mark Micheli)

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)

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