“Inspired by trips to Spain and Italy, I love the complex simplicity of sticking artichokes in intense heat and waiting for the ultimate magic to happen. Fire-roasted artichokes, with their crackling crisp leaves and hauntingly smoky flavor, get the Mediterranean treatment laden with fresh herbs, pungent garlic, and dried red pepper flakes. A compelling hands-on appetizer, grilling intensifies artichoke’s unique flavor, and dipping the charred leaves into luscious lemony aioli takes the dish over the top— in a good way!”
Serves 4- 6
½ cup extra- virgin olive oil
4 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
4 fresh flat- leaf parsley sprigs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced after removing the germ
½ shallot, minced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
4 large whole artichokes (about 2 pounds total)
Fleur de sel
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon Aioli (available on The Zest Recipe page), for serving
1. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, basil, parsley, garlic, shallot, salt, and red pepper flakes. Set aside and keep at room temperature.
2. Cut off the stems at the bases of the artichokes so they are flat and the artichokes stand upright. Cut ½ inch off the crown of each artichoke. Open the artichokes from the top, gently prying the leaves apart to expose the center choke. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the oil- herb mixture inside the cavity of each artichoke.
3. Remove the grill grate from a charcoal grill and build a hot fire with lump charcoal until red- hot, raking the coals to spread out evenly. Put on your fireproof gloves. Using tongs, stand the artichokes upright in the coals. Cook the artichokes for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outer leaves are charred. Close the lid and continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the leaves pull out easily and the heart is tender. Check by piercing with a cake tester or paring knife.
4. Using tongs, carefully transfer the artichokes to a cutting board and allow to cool slightly for 5 minutes. Cut the artichokes into quarters and remove any remaining choke with a spoon. Arrange face-up on a serving platter. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and 6 to 8 turns of a peppermill. Serve with lemon aioli.
From Charcoal: New Ways to Cook with Fire by Josiah Citrin and Joann Cianciulli © 2019. Reprinted in arrangement with Penguin Random House New York.