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2000s Recipes + Menus

Grilled Baby Artichokes with Caper-Mint Sauce

Serves6 (side dish)
  • Active time:1 1/2 hr
  • Start to finish:1 3/4 hr
June 2008
Tossing hot vegetables with vinaigrette is the best way to get them to soak it up, and artichokes straight off the grill are no exception. Mint and capers is a combination that flatters artichokes—and somehow, with the added grill flavor, the effect is doubled here.

For sauce

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 flat anchovy fillets, drained, patted dry, and minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar

For artichokes

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 12 baby artichokes (31/2 by 2 inches; see cook’s note, below; 1/2 lb total)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Make sauce:

  • Stir together all sauce ingredients with pepper to taste.

Trim and cook artichokes:

  • Combine 1 qt cold water and lemon juice in a large bowl. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, bend back outer leaves until they snap off close to base and discard several more layers of leaves in same manner until exposed leaves are pale green at top and pale yellow at base. Trim pointed tips of leaves with kitchen shears, then cut a thin slice from end of stem to expose a fresh cross section. Trim dark green fibrous parts from base and stem of artichoke, being careful not to break off stem. Halve artichoke lengthwise. Remove fuzzy center and any pointed inner leaves. Put in bowl of lemon water.
  • Drain artichokes, then cook in a large pot of boiling salted water (1 Tbsp salt for 5 qt water) until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking. Drain well.

Grill artichokes:

  • Prepare a grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas); see “Grilling Procedure.”
  • Toss artichokes with oil in a bowl. Oil grill rack, then grill artichokes, cut sides down, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, until golden brown in spots, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve drizzled with sauce.
Cooks’ notes:
  • If your artichokes are larger, remove more outer leaves to get to correct size.
  • Artichokes can be grilled in 4 batches in a hot lightly oiled large (2-burner) ridged grill pan over medium-high heat.
  • Sauce can be made 1 day ahead and chilled.
  • Artichokes can be trimmed and boiled 2 days ahead and chilled in sealed bags lined with paper towels. Bring to room temperature before grilling.