Thursday, June 7, 2012

Guest Post Spotlight: Grilled Artichokes with Lime Aioli & Cotija Cheese

Today I  turn over the LC floor to the creative team of Jenn & Seth from Home Skillet.  I have been a fan of this site for some time now.  The recipes are always on point and the photography is first-rate.  Today they spotlight a veg that is one of my favorites, the artichoke.  Job well done indeed.

Drop by Home Skillet and check out their work.  You will be glad you did.


Hi, so we are Jenn and Seth from Home Skillet, and we are so excited to be guest posting for Lazaro.  We are huge, huge fans of his site, his cooking style, plating, and presentation, and we’re honored to be included as a guest contributor to Lazaro Cooks.

We thought we would go ahead and celebrate one of our local, seasonal favorites by sharing this new recipe for Mexican-style grilled artichokes.  This recipe combines three things that we absolutely love – grilling (I mean, how can you resist that siren song of smoke, charcoal, fire, and cast iron grates), artichokes (we have a doormat decorated with artichokes and an artichoke-shaped candle, just to give you an idea of the depths of our love for this vegetable), and dipping (we are obsessed with foods that involve dipping; it’s such an active, communal way to eat).

This artichoke recipe is inspired by a Mexican corn preparation from our favorite local taquería.  After taking their corn off the grill, they like to brush on mayonnaise, cotija cheese and cayenne pepper.  It makes for a creamy, salty, spicy treat.  We’re taking this idea and running with it by making some homemade lime aioli, halving and grilling artichokes, and creating a dip-able mixture in the hollowed out center. Add the tangy sourness of lime juice, and the dish is taken to a new level. We recommend eating these from the outside in, as it will let you control the amount of topping per bite.  Plus, one of our favorite things about cooking whole artichokes… eating the heart and stem after finishing all the leaves.  No need to dip this part, as it will already be covered with the good stuff.

Grilled artichokes with lime aioli and cotija cheese

2 whole artichokes
½ cup canola oil
cayenne pepper, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup crumbled cotija cheese
4-6 limes, cut into wedges
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Lime Aioli:
2 egg yolks
1 cup canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt

For the aioli:
We like to whisk mayonnaise by hand, though others find the food processor easier to use for this.  To use this method, place the egg yolks in a small bowl, place a cup of oil next to you, and keep a tablespoon handy.  Use a whisk to break up the egg yolks in the bowl.  Add a tablespoon of oil.  Whisk that into the egg yolks so the yolks absorb it.  Then repeat.  And repeat.  Just be patient.  It will probably take about 10 minutes to get through all the oil.  Then stir in the garlic, lime zest, and lime juice.  Refrigerate.

For the artichokes:
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, so we use this time to prepare the artichokes.  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 section, 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.  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.  Take one artichoke half and 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 halves.

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 15 minutes.  When they are ready, they should be just soft enough to push a fork into the inside of the stem, but no softer.  Carefully remove artichokes and pace in a colander over sink to drain.  If the charcoal still isn’t ready, pour cold water over the artichokes periodically to slow their cooking.

Once your grill is ready to use, brush the artichokes with canola oil, salt and 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, and close top.  Once the insides are adequately charred 3-5 minutes, brush the leaves with a little more canola oil, turn over, and place on lower heat.  Brush the inside of the stem and cut sides of leaves with a bit of canola.  The open part of the artichoke should look a lot like a bowl.  Inside, place a layer of cotija cheese, cayenne pepper, a spoonful of lime aioli, and another layer of cotija and cayenne.  Adjust amounts to task.  Cover and let warm up for another 3-5 minutes before serving.  After serving, remove leaves from the outside and scoop dip from the center.  Once all the leaves are gone, eat the heart and stem, the best part!

Please drop by Home Skillet and check out their fantastic site.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. I love the grilled corn version of this but never thought about artichokes. It makes perfect sense and I can't wait to try it!

  2. wonderful and love both of your blogs talented folks

  3. what a grat post! i love artichokes! i'll have to try it out! thanks for sharing!

  4. Great collaboration! I love home skillet cooking and their recipes and this is no exception! :)

  5. Another wonderful dish from people I really enjoy spending time with. These artichokes look so appetizing.

  6. Full of nutrients and very simple recipe! This is what I am looking for! Really amazing recipe! Try also glancing on my favorite site, GOURMANDIA! They have lots of exciting and interesting recipes for you to choose from. Not only that they have lots of recipe videos for you to watch and replay again and again!

  7. This looks incredible! I love the grilled artichokes in their own right, but they sound even more irresistible paired with lime aioli. And speaking of that lime aioli, I think I could think of about 100 things off the top of my head that would be amazing slathered with that -- it sounds delicious!

  8. I have never tried cotija cheese before but I love artichokes and your lime aioli sauce sounds wonderful!!! Jenn and Seth, wonderful guest post!

  9. I have been a fan of Jenn and Seth since they first got on Foodbuzz. They really have some delicious and creative posts on their blog. This one is no different, love the blend of flavors. I think I may be enjoying artichokes more often after seeing this recipe-delicious post!

  10. I love your version of this dish. Very creative and so tasty.

  11. Super idea to turn the corn version into an artichoke recipe,

  12. Grilled artichokes are always amazing, and you have showcased them here in their perfection! The lime aioli is such a delight...lovely preparation for a favorite veggie of mine :)


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