We’ve been eating a lot of artichokes lately because a) they are in season, b) we have 3 artichoke plants in our yard and c) I just found out that artichokes are loaded with antioxidants. They seem like such a marginal vegetable to me, what with all the waste and the effort you have to go through to get the tiny bit of meat off of the leaves, but apparently they are nutritional powerhouses. I’ve been reading this book lately called The O2 Diet, whose premise is that if you eat a lot of antioxidants, you will be super healthy. In it I learned that artichokes have only 60 calories each (of course, that’s without mayo or butter as a dipping sauce!), can lower cholesterol, act as an anti-inflammatory for your skin, and have 7,900 ORAC points each. If you are unfamiliar with the ORAC scale, it measures the ability of a given food to neutralize free radicals, which cause disease and aging in the body. Artichokes apparently have the highest ORAC rating of any vegetable. You can compare its number to that of blueberries, which are well-known for being antioxidant superstars. While artichokes have 7,900 per serving, blueberries fall around 9,700 per serving. As another relative comparison, watermelon or carrots have only 200 ORAC per serving.
So, artichokes = good. And, my mom just recently suggested a new way of preparing them, so I decided to try it out. The result? BEST. ARTICHOKES. EVER. (I think I have to stop using that phraseology so much.)
The trick here is that you both steam and grill the artichokes. They end up tender without being too charred.
Garlic Grilled Artichokes
- 2 artichokes
- 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
Trim the artichokes by cutting off the stem and the top 1/3 and snipping any prickly leaves. Cut each artichoke in half and remove the choke (I find this is most easily done with a melon baller).
Steam the artichokes for about 30 minutes, until just tender (the timing will depend on the size of your vegetables). Remove them from the steamer, place them cut side up on a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Spread some of the garlic on the cut side of each half, tucking some of it in between the leaves.
Place the foil with the artichokes on a grill heated to medium. Grill each side for approximately 10 minutes, starting cut side up.
The artichokes will get even more tender, the garlic will infuse into the leaves, and the leaves and heart will get caramelized. So, so delicious.
Eat them as you would a regular steamed artichoke, pulling off individual leaves and getting their meat before you dive into the fantastic heart.