Grilled Baby Artichokes and Fennel
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 40 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes
Never grilled an artichoke? Make sure to get real baby artichokes or get the smallest ones you can find and scoop out the fuzzy choke. Be sure to clip off the toughest leaves completely. The delicate sweetness and aromas of grilled fennel give an extra dimension to this simple but elegant appetizer or side dish.
2 teaspoons salt
Juice of 3 lemons
36 baby artichokes
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, divided
8 bulbs fennel, trimmed (see Kitchen Tips) and split in half lengthwise
- Make the artichokes: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Pour 2 quarts of water into a large, nonreactive bowl and add the lemon juice.
- Snap off the tough outer leaves of 1 artichoke. Peel the stem. Using a serrated knife, cut off the top half. With kitchen shears or a small, sharp knife, snip off the remaining sharp or spiky tips. Cut in half lengthwise, and if necessary, scoop out the inedible fuzzy choke with a small spoon (see Kitchen Tips). Transfer to the lemony water and repeat with the remaining artichokes.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the acidulated artichokes to the pot and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until you can just pierce the hearts with the tip of a sharp knife. Drain, pat dry lightly and let cool.
- Heat a grill pan or a gas grill fitted with a vegetable basket to medium heat and spray well with nonstick vegetable oil spray.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the artichokes, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and toss gently to coat.
- In a separate bowl, combine the fennel, the remaining olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Place the fennel and artichokes on the grill pan or grill, cut side down in a single layer. Grill for 2 to 2½ minutes, until grill marks appear; then turn with tongs and grill for 2 to 2½ minutes longer. Transfer to a work surface. When the fennel is cool to the touch, slice it into ½-inch strips. Transfer the fennel and artichokes to a bowl and toss gently. This is great served hot, warm, or chilled. Serve with our Creamy Roast Garlic Dip, if desired.
- True baby artichokes have soft chokes that are easy to eat—and can be cut in half and grilled, braised, steamed, or even shredded thinly on a mandolin slicer and served raw since there is no significant “choke” to choke on. Be careful while shopping, since some artichokes sold as “baby” are merely small. Those may well have chokes are that tough and inedible and must be removed.
- To prepare fennel, place it on its side on a work surface; you will see the core at its base. Cut out the core by making two angled cuts on either side of it with a sharp knife, to form a triangle shape. Discard the core. Peel off any discolored, shriveled or hard outer layers and discard. Cut off the feathery fronds; you can discard them or reserve them for garnish or for use in a dressing or other seasoning. You will be left with the fennel bulb and its “fingers.” Slice or chop as the recipe indicates. Note that some cooks discard the “fingers” as well.