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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
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!
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