Grilled Artichokes

This Mexican chile pepper is called “Chilaca” when used fresh. In California the Poblano chile is often called Pasilla. Since most of these are bought and distributed from California this mislabeling often carries over into the supermarkets nationwide causing alot of confusion. This chile is very mild and is usually consumed in the dry form to make the famous Mexican ‘mole’ sauces.

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4 large artichokes
1 lemon, halved
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. white wine
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Spicy Smoked Tomato Mayonnaise:

2 tomatoes, halved
2 pasilla peppers, halved
1/4 cup garlic cloves
1/2 pound onions, large, sliced thin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups mayonnaise


For the artichokes:

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat.

Break off the artichokes small outside leaves, then cut off the top with a knife and trim the sharp points of the leaves with scissors. Rub the leaves with the cut lemon as you go to avoid discoloration. Squeeze the lemon halves into a bowl of cold water and soak the artichokes for 10 minutes, then wash with cold water to remove any sand.

Place the artichokes in a large steamer insert over simmering water and steam until the heart is tender, about 25-35 minutes depending upon the size. Allow the hearts to cool, then cut in half lengthwise and remove the chokes with a spoon.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Stir in the white wine and lemon juice and keep warm.

Grill the artichokes, basting with the butter mixture, until they are golden on the surface and heated through, about 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then serve with the Spicy Smoked Tomato Mayonnaise.

For the mayonnaise:

Dry the tomatoes and pasilla peppers in an oak smoker/dehydrator overnight.

Preheat an outdoor grill, preferably wood fired with oak wood, for indirect heat cooking.

Wrap the garlic and onions loosely in 2 separate foil packets and roast/grill over indirect heat until they are soft, being careful not to burn them. The garlic should take about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. The onions should take about 30-45 minutes.

In a food processor, puree the smoked pasilla peppers and tomatoes with the garlic and onions. Add the cayenne, chili powder, paprika and salt. Mix in the mayonnaise. Leftover mayonnaise will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 or 4 days.

Recipe courtesy Frank Ostini and the Hitching Post Restaurants.