Sunday, May 19, 2013

Grilled Artichoke Quarters with Anchovy Garlic Drizzle - a Picnic Potluck

I am a ruiner.  As in, I ruin things.  Usually with just a few well-placed complaints.  It can be seen as a talent.  Or a buzzkill.  All depends on your perspective.

I'm starting to think I might need to keep this tendency in check.  Just a bit.  Okay, maybe a lot a bit.

For instance, we got some Chinese takeout recently.  And ate it on a table outdoors at sunset at this super scenic area.  It was gorgeous and romantic.

Until Seth asked me how I liked the food.  My response was ehhhh.

I mean, yes, I guess I was being truthful (the food wasn't bad, and some dishes were pretty interesting, but it could have been better), but the truth isn't always the most beautiful.  It won't always bring the most happiness.  Instead I was the person bringing the party down.  My complaining really served no purpose but to sap all the romance from the scene.  Would it have killed me to just say that I love it?

So I need to work on this whole complaining thing.  Just a little.

This month's Creative Cooking Challenge comes at the perfect time.  The topic is, "potluck picnic."  And picnics, being all outdoors and stuff, can be a bit of a bugaboo.  Wonderful in theory, but a goldmine for complaints about bugs, food that shouldn't be cold, food that shouldn't be warm, etc.

That said, we are preparing grilled artichoke quarters with an anchovy garlic drizzle. It may seem like a strange choice for a picnic, but if one does the prepping and boiling of the artichoke before arriving, as well as the mixing of the drizzle, one only needs to grill the quarters on site, and finish them with the drizzle, Parmesan and parsley.  Freshly grilled, they should be hot enough to melt the cheese and make up for the long trip.  And who doesn't like grilling at the park?  Plus the drizzle has a crazy amount of flavor.  Hopefully, they'll keep my whiny side in check...

Click here to check out the entire Picnic Potluck Roundup hosted by Joan of Foodalogue!

2 artichokes (will make 8 quarters)
2 ounces anchovies packed in olive oil, be sure to reserve the olive oil from the package
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground hazelnuts
Parmesan cheese wedge and microplane, for serving
parsley leaves, for serving

For the anchovy drizzle (at home):
Pour the olive oil from the anchovies into a small pot.  Mince the anchovies and add those in.  Stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil, the minced garlic, and the vinegar.  Over low heat, let the mixture come together for 5-10 minutes, until the anchovies have begun to melt into the mixture a bit.  Take off heat and stir in the hazelnuts.

For the artichokes (at home):
Prep we will do at home.  To start, set a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Using kitchen shears, trim off pointy tips of artichoke leaves. Using a large, sharp knife, cut off the top ½-inch of the artichokes and the end of each stem. Carefully remove any small leaves attached directly to the stem. Wash artichokes thoroughly under cold water to clean them off, and dry with paper towel.

For this part, you will want to do one artichoke at a time. Take your big sharp knife, coat it with lemon juice from one of your lemon wedges, turn an artichoke upside down, so the stem is sticking up and slice it straight down in half, and then in half again to make quarters. Immediately rub down all cut surfaces with lemon wedges to prevent discoloration. Take a serrated spoon, or regular spoon, and coat it with lemon juice. Scoop out the fuzzy choke in the center, as well as the inner, purple leaves. Make sure you get all of the fuzzy part out, and liberally rub down the top of the heart with lemon to prevent discoloration. I also try to cut any remaining prickly points off of the inner curled leaves to prevent poking the eater. Repeat for other quarters.

Once water is boiling, place artichokes in, cut side down, and cover with a clean cheese cloth, dish cloth, or cloth napkin. This will soak up water and ensure the artichokes stay wet while cooking. Cover pot with lid and cook about 9 minutes. When they are ready, they should be just soft enough to push a fork into the inside of the stem, but no softer. The outside of the stem should still be a bit firm.  Carefully remove artichokes and place in a bowl of ice water to halt their cooking.  Once they have cooled, thoroughly drain the water out and place in a Tupperware container to bring to the grill site.

For the artichokes (at grill site):
If using a charcoal grill, stack and light charcoal according to your favorite method. We like using a large chimney starter. The charcoal will be flaming and smoking for around 20-45 minutes.  Once 90 percent of the charcoal is ashed over, spread evenly onto charcoal rack, and place grates.  After grates have warmed up (5 minutes), scrape them clean using a grill brush.

Once your grill is ready to use, brush the artichokes with olive oil and black pepper. Adjust heat to high (350-400°). If grill grates are cast iron, rub them down briefly using a few paper towels or a cheese cloth dipped in canola oil. Place artichokes on grates, cut side down. To help them stay oriented correctly, squeeze the quarters up next to each other for added support. Close top and wait 3-5 minutes. Once the side making contact is adequately charred, brush the remaining cut side with olive oil and turn over onto the un-charred side.  Remove from heat once both cut sides have a light char.

Drizzle the artichokes with anchovy mixture, then sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.


  1. We all ruin things sometimes there there! And these grilled artichokes?? Look awesome. omg

  2. I want to be at any picnic that is serving up these!! I love your self awareness, it's def tough to change habits - good for you girl :)

  3. I would never complain about these artichokes. They look too good to be true! Artichokes are one of my absolute favorites but I've never grilled them before. Hard to believe, I know! Thank you for sharing and inspiring me!

  4. Its OK - we are all ruiners at some point in time!! We have a new grill so I can make these artichokes!

  5. These look great - I really enjoy artichokes, but don't make them all that often. They look great with the grill marks and I bet they are delicious.

  6. Great story and actually great advice for all things. Best not to rain on parades. In many ways, being positive makes the mediocre taste better. In this case, it was the place not the food, wasn't it. Bet you would have felt differently if you would have had those artichokes which are lovely and perfect for a picnic... also unusual! Never had an artichoke for a picnic before. Great response to challenge.

  7. I know what you mean about being a buzzkill...I definitely have a complainer tendency as well. or maybe I'm just too honest? Hmm.

    Well, regardless, I love teh sound of these quarters and especially that sauce to top them!

  8. This looks so elegant and would surely be a fun addition to a picnic! Loved reading the narrative too - I think we can all relate, at least a little, lol!

  9. these look amazing, and what a fabulous thing to grill! i haven't tackled artichokes myself, but these certainly make me want to :)

  10. Haha I can bring down a party single handedly if I want to, you are not alone!
    Lovely recipe today!

    Choc Chip Uru

  11. Perfect summer picnic recipe, I think and will work so well as starters! Just keep telling the truth, I suffer the same fault!

  12. We all have those moments, that is what makes us human! Also I love how you broke up the directions for at home and on the road or in my case all at home because the grills in Prospect Park scare me!

  13. Grilled artichoke for a picnic...I totally love that!

  14. I'd definitely go for these gorgeous grilled artichokes on a much more appealing than a bowl of potato salad!

  15. First of all it happens to all foodies...we can get disappointed...I am an artichoke afficionado and these are right up my alley...

  16. I found some tiny artichokes at our Italian market just yesterday!!

  17. These are a lovely addition to the potluck picnic and hands down a better choice than Chinese takeout.

  18. I love grilled artichokes and recently made some that did not hold true to the recipe. I am going to try yours and I can't wait!

  19. Sometimes I ruin things too! I can't help it because I want to be as honest as possible. But sometimes truth mustn't be said or at least must be said with caution. I try also to work on this! This is the best meal for a potluck picnic!

  20. So we only expect compliments on all our dishes lol. I am a huge artichoke fan and your contribution looks just so amazing.

  21. Haha, this was funny! But most of us food loving types ARE honest when it comes to less than stellar food, and there's a lot of greasy and bad Chinese take away out there! I think your artichokes with some of Evelyne's gouda and a loaf of bread would do me just fine, forget about the Chinese! I love the addition of the hazelnuts to the anchovy sauce.

  22. I loved artichoke but I never make it home (it's more of a restaurant type dish for me) as I am sort of scared of buying artichokes. They just look so alien!

    However your recipe seems straight forward and amazingly tasty. I'll need to give it a go :)

  23. The truth will set you free. Love the execution on these artichokes.

  24. Such a wonderful thing for a cook out. I am not good with artichokes but I want to try, especially this with the hazlenuts. Bravo.

  25. Jenn, I wanted to comment about the Chinese Food. My husband has a way to let me know something without being insulting. He probably would have said "it's not bad and the sunset makes it better." I probably would have said, "I don't like it."But, I agree, complaining isn't useful. You sound like a really nice person and probably really didn't bring the party down. Angela of Spinach tiger

  26. You can never go wrong with grilled artichokes. They look heavenly!

  27. We are fans of grilled artichokes. Love the addition of anchovy. Great picnic item!


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