When I lived in Chicago there was a great Italian restaurant whose name escapes me but the wonderful grilled artichokes with a chunky tomato-pepperoncini sauce doesn’t. They numbered the appetizer and every number 5000 served got a free trip to Italy.
With artichokes in full season at the farmers market, I recommend you try my attempt to replicate this wonderful dish. As with all the recipes we post here at Carts and Tools, please feel free to share, either on-line or print and hand out to your customers if you happen to be a market grower.
Grilled artichokes with Tomato-Peperonccini sauce
Yield:4 lucky people
- 4 Globe artichokes
- 1 lemon
- 4 to 5 Roma tomatoes (ripe)
- 3 to 4 pepperoncini and some juice from the jar
- 2 to 3 sweet peppers (I use red and yellow)
- Thick slice of sweet onion (Vidalia, Maui, etc.)
- Handful of basil sliced thin.
- Olive oil
To prepare artichoke love.
Fill a large pot with about 1 inch of water and put a steamer rack in.
Cut the lemon in half. Trim the artichokes and make them pretty. Cut off the stems leaving about 2 inches if they are still on. Peel the stems with a vegetable peeler. As you work rub the cut surfaces with the cut lemon.
Cut off about 1/2 inch from the top. Use scissors to trim the pointy leaves off the tips of the leaves. Cut the artichokes in half. Using a sharp spoon (I have an old one that I sharpened with a file just for this) scoop out the choke.
Bring the water to a boil, then turn down to medium-high and steam the artichokes, cut side down for about 20 minutes.
Take them out and set them aside.
Move to the grill, gas or charcoal and get it going.
Brush the sweet peppers, onion and tomato with olive oil. Grill the sweet peppers until they are charred on all sides and then throw them in a paper bag, close it and let them steam. Grill the onion at the same time until it is soft and has good grill marks. Chop into chunks. Grill the tomatoes until the skin starts to peel and crack then peel off skin.
Place 2 of the tomatoes in a blender or food processor and blend well, peel and chop the sweet peppers and add them, the chopped onion and the pepperoncini. Blend well.
Add a little salt and pepper and check the taste. If the sauce needs more pepperoncini flavor add some juice from the bottle.
Once you like it, add the rest of the tomatoes and blend just to chop them up, leaving the sauce a little chunky. You can prepare this a little in advance but not too long.
If the tomatoes weren’t really ripe, the sauce might need to be cooked for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Then add the sliced basil.
Brush the artichoke halves with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place on the grill cut side up.
Cover and cook 5 to 10 minutes turning once until you have great grill marks on the cut side.
Place 2 artichoke halves grilled side up on a plate and drizzle with the sauce or place them all on a large platter and do the same thing.
You will have lots of sauce so serve with some rustic artisan Italian bread to sop it up with. It’s a beautiful thing.
Prep time:10 minutes Cook time:40 minutes