Grilled Artichokes

Grilled Artichokes

For centuries, Jews throughout the Mediterranean have made good use of artichokes. Most notably, in Rome, crisp and lightly fried varieties adorn many a holiday table. I’ve always loved the simplicity and approachable nature of Italian cuisine, so much so that my husband and I partook in a local Tuscan cooking class on our whirlwind honeymoon adventure through Italy. When I returned home, I was thrilled to observe that since the climate and terrain in California are so similar to that in Italy, I am spoiled by the riches in produce we get here that resemble true Italian fare.

Preparing an artichoke for cooking may sound daunting, but can really be done quickly with a sharp knife.

Preparing an artichoke for cooking may sound daunting, but can really be done quickly with a sharp knife.

Perhaps it is because I grew up in an image-conscious city, or because healthy eating and cooking is important to me, but I often like finding ways to lighten up a recipe while maintaining great flavor. Lucky for me, I prefer my artichokes grilled, rather than fried. I know that just about everything tastes better fried, but I love the smoky, crisp bite of a charred edge that only a grill can produce.

As featured on The Nosher.

Artichokes kissed from the grill produce char marks with tons of flavor.

Artichokes kissed from the grill produce char marks with tons of flavor.

Often times, artichokes act as a vehicle for rich, creamy sauces, but with just the right amount of seasoning and the slight kiss of the grill, these babies need no doctoring, and are exceptional on their own. And don’t be too intimidated about preparing and cleaning fresh artichokes. Once you try your hand at the first one, you’ll get the hang of it. Served hot off the grill or at room temperature, grilled artichokes are the perfect accompaniment to any summer meal.

The finished product!

The finished product!

Grilled Artichokes
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
No need for calorie-heavy sauces or dips. The charred flavor and the tender leaves of these artichokes are fantastic on their own!
Ingredients
  • 2 large whole artichokes
  • 2 lemons, cut in half
  • 1 head of garlic, sliced in half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs Old Bay seasoning
  • water
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning blend of your choice (I really like Regular and Salt-Free Greek Seasoning)
Instructions
  1. In a large stock pot with the steamer insert removed, add 2 halves of the lemon (1 whole lemon), garlic, bay leaf, and Old Bay seasoning. Fill the pot with water until it just meets the bottom of the steamer insert. Place over medium heat, and let sit.
  2. Meanwhile, to prepare the artichokes for steaming, first cut about an inch off the top of the artichoke. Then, with your hand, peel off the tougher leaves (about 1 layer into the artichoke).
  3. Using a pairing knife, cut off the base of the leaves you just peeled, and continue pairing down the stem until you have a single, uniform layer. Rub the exposed areas with lemon, squeezing the juice from the lemon a bit.
  4. Cut the artichoke in half, and again, run the lemon over the cut sides to keep from browning too much.
  5. Remove the fibrous choke at the center, as well as any colored (purple) leaves. Run the lemon over the exposed cuts.
  6. Slice the halves into quarters, and assemble on the steaming insert of the stock pot.
  7. Cover and let the water simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until the artichokes are fork tender.
  8. (You can stop here, and eat them as is, but you'd miss out on the next step!)
  9. Drizzle olive oil and seasoning blend over the steamed artichokes, then place them over high heat on a grill. Grill 1-2 minutes per side.
  10. As the artichokes are already cooked, the goal here is just to get grill marks and the flavor of the char.

 

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Marinated Flank Steak

Flank Steak a la Bette

Several years ago, when I had a lot less confidence in the kitchen, my husband and I invited a friend over for Shabbat dinner, as we often do. Knowing that I don’t keep a kosher kitchen, and that this friend kept kosher, I wanted him to feel comfortable welcoming the sabbath at my dinner table. I had a storage cabinet full of appliances that were gifted to us for our wedding that we hadn’t yet used, and in it, I found an electric grill. My husband and I agreed that we would only cook kosher meats on the grill, thus giving us an option for entertaining our friends who keep kosher.

(*note, we have since kashered our rotisserie, and invested in separate place settings and serveware designated for our kosher friends.)

I imagined that with his winning personality and friendly nature, Howard, our guest of honor, must get invited to countless shabbat tables, and must be sick of the traditional roasted chicken fare. So, I set out to find something different for our dinner menu. Luckily, I live near one of the most densely populated areas of kosher markets, and had the opportunity to shop around for the basics I was looking for. I knew I didn’t want to make chicken, and I also knew that it had to be something that worked on the grill. When I arrived at the busy meat market, and explained to the kosher butcher that I was thinking flank steak for shabbat dinner, he gave me a good chuckle as he packaged up my cut. “What?,” I said. “There’s no rule about eating chicken on Shabbat. I want to change it up a bit.”

Marinated flank steak sizzling on the grill with bell pepper pieces.

Marinated flank steak sizzling on the grill with bell pepper pieces.

Despite the giggles and smirks I received at the kosher market, I was determined to make a killer flank steak. Fortunately for me, my Midwestern meat-and-potatoes husband reminded me that his mom is famous for her steak marinades. On her flank steaks, she uses a marinade consisting of soy sauce and Italian dressing, two ingredients that don’t necessarily scream cohesiveness, but surprisingly bring out the best elements in each other.

That night, when we broke bread with our soon-to-be Rabbi friend, Howard, we were treated to a flavorful, juicy, cooked-just-right piece of steak, and we opened up the doors to opportunity for trying  new and exciting dishes for Shabbat.

I’ve since taken my mother-in-law’s original recipe, and “Cuba-fied” it by adding garlic. I also splash in a bit of Worcestershire sauce, because I like the taste, and think it adds a certain depth of flavor. Depending on what I’m service alongside and whether or not I have some squirreled away in the fridge, I’ll add sliced green onions to the marinade. Ultimately, the base is always the same (soy sauce and Italian dressing), but can easily be enhanced with a plethora of flavors you might have in your kitchen.

Plus, the leftover possibilities are endless!

Grilled flank steak, peppers, and zucchini over a bed of arugula, topped with chunks of avocado.

Grilled flank steak, peppers, and zucchini over a bed of arugula, topped with chunks of avocado.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Marinated Flank Steak
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Heat your grill up, and get ready to smell the aromatic wonders that will permeate the air with this marinated flank steak!
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup Italian dressing
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1-1½ lbs. flank steak, cleaned and trimmed
Instructions
  1. In a plastic resealable bag, combine soy sauce, dressing, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and fresh ground pepper. Add flank steak, seal bag, and massage meat, making sure it is evenly coated with the marinade.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, turning once.
  3. Remove bag from refrigerator, and allow to come to room temperature.
  4. Heat grill to medium-high, and grill steak 5-7 minutes on each side.
  5. Allow meat to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing thinly.
  6. Serve immediately, or reserve for leftover dishes.

 

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