Spicy Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Melts

Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Melts

Spicy Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Melts

You know what makes me happy every year in early November? A mountain of Dungeness crab meat. When the crabbing season opens and those first boats leave the harbor with their crab traps, us West-coasters know we’re in for a treat.

In my town I think the best place to eat Dungeness crab is little place out on the wharf called Stagnaro’s. Downstairs there is a fish market with a walk-up counter where you can order a crab or shrimp cocktail, a burger, or a whole fish or fresh live crab to take home with you. Inside is a casual sit-down seafood restaurant. But the real treat (and where we love to take out of town visitors) is the upstairs bar, which has an outdoor deck, a panoramic view of the Monterey Bay, and a mean Dungeness crab cocktail. For some reason, the deck is usually vacant, but we have no idea why. It may be a little breezy out there and the seagulls can be loud, but it’s hard to beat the view of the ocean. Look one direction and you see our lighthouse proudly perched on the end of the cliffs with Cowell’s and Steamers (popular surf spots) down below. Look the other direction and you take in a view of the Boardwalk, the sandy beaches dotted with tourists, locals, and beach volleyball enthusiasts alike, and the Santa Cruz mountains standing tall in the background. If you’re lucky, you’ll look down at the water just below you and watch a sea otter eat a sea urchin, or a pack of sea lions splashing and bellowing. All of this while digging into a fresh Dungeness crab cocktail, biting into a warm buttered sourdough roll, and sipping a local pale ale. Sound enticing?

These open-faced sandwiches are piled high with  fresh crab meat that’s been mixed with chopped marinated artichokes, green onions, just enough mayonnaise to hold it together, some lemon zest, and a little minced jalapeño for heat. You top them with sharp cheddar, stick them under the broiler, and you have a satisfying meal that celebrates both the crustacean it highlights and the season.

The recipe comes from a cookbook that I received as a gift from my Grandma who lives in Alaska. It is a collection of stories and recipes from female commercial fisherwomen. The only changes we made to the original recipe were adding a little lemon zest to the crab mixture (because I think lemon and crab are a match made in heaven), using sourdough bread instead of french bread (just a personal preference), and buttering the bread before broiling (why not?). Our changes are noted below. Not in the mood for a spicy sandwich? Simply add less jalapeño or leave it out completely.

We went the economical and labor-intensive route by purchasing a whole Dungeness crab and taking the meat out ourselves (just ask your butcher to crack and clean it for you and it will make the process easier). You can buy Dungeness crab meat, but the price per pound will be slightly more because of the labor involved. It’s up to you! If you can’t find Dungeness crab, substitute whatever crab meat is available to you.

Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Melts

Spicy Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Melts

Spicy Dungeness Crab & Artichoke Melts

(Slightly adapted from The Fishes & Dishes Cookbook; Makes 4 Servings)

1 1/2 cups shelled crab meat, shredded
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 TBS. minced fresh jalapeño
1 tsp. minced garlic
a couple pinches of fresh lemon zest
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 green onion, white and light green parts, sliced
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 large slices of sourdough bread from a round sourdough loaf
butter
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

  • Preheat the broiler and set the rack on the middle level.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the crab meat, artichoke hearts, jalapeño, garlic, lemon zest, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, green onion, salt and pepper.
  • Lightly butter the sourdough bread slices on both sides and place under the broiler until lightly golden. Turn them over and broil until other side is lightly golden. Remove from oven and spread each toasted slice of bread with the crab-artichoke mixture. Top with cheddar cheese. Place the open-faced sandwiches back under the broiler and cook until topping is hot and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve hot.
Dungeness Crabs (photo from Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Dungeness Crabs (photo from Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Grilled Opah with Hawaiian Sea Salt and Mango-Papaya-Avocado Salsa


Opah is a Hawaiian fish that grills beautifully thanks to its meaty texture, but has a mild flavor that even hesitant fish eaters can appreciate, especially when topped with a fresh tropical fruit salsa with creamy avocado. I don’t know about you, but I sure could use a mental vacation right now, in lieu of real one, which would require too much money and require boarding a plane with my toddler.


I’ll never forget our last spring break in Japan in 2008 when we met my family in Kauai for several days.  On our second evening there, my dad barbecued mahi-mahi and opakapaka (Hawaiian pink snapper) and we ate on the ocean-view porch of our Waimea Plantation Cottage. The combination of the grilled local fish, the mai tais, and the sunset was heaven, and it fully rejuvenated us to return to Japan to finish up our semester of English classes.

Dustin was recently given two types of Hawaiian sea salt as a gift from a co-worker. When we saw the beautiful Opah fillets at the fish counter, we remembered our Kauai vacation and knew they would be a perfect match for our Hawaiian salt. The first one is “Black Lava” and is a mixture of flake sea salt and charcoal, hence its pitch black color. The other is “Alaea Red” and is a coarse sea salt that gets its color from ‘Alaea or Hawaiian red clay.


When we took the Opah off of the grill, we let it rest  like you would with any thick cut of meat, then topped it with generous spoonfuls of our colorful mango-papaya-avocado salsa, and served it next to a scoop of white rice, sprinkled with a little of the black lava salt. Some arugula lightly dressed with fresh lemon rounded out this healthy summer dinner. If you don’t have a Hawaiian vacation coming up (I can sympathize), make this for dinner, fix yourself a mai tai (or pour yourself a glass of beer – beer pairing suggestion below), enjoy the lingering daylight, and give yourself a break. You deserve it. Sunset not included.


Grilled Opah with Hawaiian Sea Salt and Mango-Papaya-Avocado Salsa

(serves 4)

2 lbs. Hawaiian Opah*
Extra virgin olive oil
Hawaiian sea salt (check out www.alohaspice.com for the varieties I mentioned) or just sub coarse salt or Kosher salt
1 mango, pitted, peeled, and diced (don’t know the best way to cut a mango? Here’s a hint)
1 small papaya, peeled, seeds removed, and diced
1 ripe avocado, diced
Juice from 1 small lime (or to taste)
Agave nectar, to taste
A pinch of chili flakes (optional, but tasty)
Accompaniments: steamed rice; arugula tossed with fresh lemon juice

*We bought one huge piece of Opah that we later cut into individual portions, but you can also buy 4 fillets, about 1/2 a lb. each

  • Take the Opah out of the refrigerator rub with olive oil. Season lightly with sea salt (we used a little of each variety of Hawaiian sea salt) and set aside (at room temperature). Meanwhile, prepare a charcoal grill (or a gas grill on high heat).
  • In a small bowl, combine the mango, papaya, and avocado. Add lime juice, a drizzle of agave nectar, the chili flakes (if using), and a little salt and pepper. Gently stir everything together, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. Cover and refrigerate.
  • When the grill is ready, oil the grill grates. Add the Opah and grill until just cooked through, but not overdone, about 3-6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your fillets (ours were about 2-3 inches). Let rest for a couple minutes, then cut into 4 pieces.
  • Place the Opah on plates and spoon some salsa over the top. Serve with steamed rice, and a handful of arugula tossed with some freshly squeezed lemon juice. Go ahead and add a little sprinkling of sea salt too!

Beer Pairing Suggestion: We opened up a bottle of Tiger Baby: Open Windows Open Hills (how’s that for a name!? – it’s actually named after a Danish electro-pop group) by Mikkeller. To quote one fan from Beer Advocate:  ” In the aroma, citrus notes of island fruit. In the taste, sweet to dry fruitiness and citrus, especially mango. A small fruit bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small citrus fruit skin in the aftertaste. Big fruity presence, almost chardonnay like, quite superb!” We happened to agree. It went especially well with the mango-papaya-avocado salsa.

Sake-Steamed Clams with Sriracha Compound Butter


Seafood and I have come a long way. As a child and into my teenage years, I generally avoided it (except for the occasional tempura shrimp or in “fish and chip” form). Then when I was in college, I had several seafood dishes that expanded my horizons and changed my attitude towards things of the sea. One of them was the Garlic Baked Clams at Brophy Bros. Restaurant & Clam Bar, out on the Santa Barbara wharf.  Over glasses of white wine, my friend Lauren and I enjoyed this irresistible appetizer with a basket of sourdough bread one evening towards the end of our college careers. It was official – I was a clam convert.

So, last weekend on a blustery, rainy evening, the girl who used to avoid seafood was craving a big pot of steamed clams, with some crusty bread, and two of our best friends. There were a lot of clams, 7 lbs in fact, but we made short work of them. They were steamed in sake, topped with a Sriracha compound butter, a dash of togarashi (a Japanese spice blend of cayenne, orange peel, sesame seeds, and seaweed), and a scattering of scallions. We soaked up the flavorful broth, now enriched by the melted Sriracha butter, with a Gayle’s Capitola Sourdough baguette. It was a heavenly meal.


The original recipe calls for plain, unsalted butter that you put on top of the hot clams, but the idea of a Sriracha butter entered my brain (these are the friends with whom we do our “Sriracha Dinners” – if you remember such meals as the Ultimate Sriracha Burger, Camarones a la Diabla, or Miso-Sriracha Glazed Salmon with Spicy Slaw). It seemed right to continue the tradition, and we thought the Sriracha compound butter (recipe from The Sriracha Cookbook) added a little extra zip to the clams and a depth of flavor once it melted and incorporated into the broth. It was also pretty amazing spread on the sourdough bread 🙂

The recipe below serves 4 as a main dish.


Sake-Steamed Clams with Sriracha Compound Butter

(Slightly adapted from Food & Wine; recipe contributed by Nobuo Fukuda)

4 TBS. butter (1/2 a stick), at room temperature*
1 TBS. Sriracha
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt
7 lbs. Manila clams, scrubbed
3 1/2 cups Sake (roughly 1-750 ml bottle)**
3 1/2 cups water
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
a couple pinches of togarashi

* If you find yourself with leftover Sriracha compound butter, try using it to cook your fried eggs in the morning (yum), spread it on a bagel, top grilled steak or fish, or melt and drizzle onto popcorn. You really can’t go wrong.

** Chef Fukuda suggests using a cooking sake, or ryori, such as Shochikubai brand. We used a Gekkeikan sake from Trader Joe’s – just make sure whatever you choose is a dry sake.

  • Fill a medium bowl with cold water and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the clams and let stand for 1 hour. Drain the clams and rinse them well.
  • Meanwhile, make the Sriracha compound butter: Using a wooden spoon, mix the butter with the Sriracha and garlic until evenly incorporated. Scrape the butter out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap as a barrier between your hands and the butter, form the butter into a log shape, about 1 inch in diameter. Roll the butter up tightly, adjusting and maintaining the log form. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the butter to set up and the flavors to meld.
  • In a large, deep pot, combine the sake with the water and bring to a boil. Add the clams, cover the skillet tightly and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until most of the clams have opened, about 4 minutes (ours took about twice as long to open, but maybe that’s because we were cooking 7 lbs instead of 2 lbs!)
  • Spoon the clams and broth into 4 bowls. Top  each bowl of clams with a slice of the Sriracha compound butter, garnish with the scallions and togarashi and serve immediately, along with sourdough bread to soak up the broth.

Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Jalapeño-Ranch Sauce


It’s recipe swap time again! This week’s theme was Mexican. Both of us have been fortunate enough to grow up in California where we have eaten some of the best Mexican food outside of Mexico, something we missed greatly while we were in Japan, where there wasn’t an enchilada or a torta in sight (nor was there knowledge of either of those things). This recipe was a little different, so I can’t compare it to the tacos I ate at a little stand down in San Diego or Ensenada, but if you put it in a different category, perhaps Tex-Mex or American-Mexican, it’s a meal that definitely delivers on flavor, from the charcoal flavor of the grilled shrimp to the kick of Jalapeño in the zesty ranch sauce.

Ranch isn’t usually a staple in our house, so I was actually excited to have an excuse to buy the seasoning mix from the store and mix it into sour cream. When I added the grilled jalapeño and whirled everything up in a food processor, I decided this would be the perfect dip for potato chips (I may or may not have tried this while Dustin was grilling the shrimp). Next time, I would up the seasoning in the shrimp marinade – definitely more salt and more chili powder/cayenne, and maybe even add something sweet like honey or agave nectar to balance the flavors, but over all, this is a great meal to enjoy in your backyard on a warm evening with a glass of dry white wine. And I’m telling you, that Jalapeño-Ranch sauce just calls out for potato chips!


Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Jalapeño-Ranch Sauce

(From Sarah of A Taste of Home Cooking)

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (we used small prawns)
Olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Chopped garlic
Chili powder or cayenne pepper (or both! We also recommend adding salt & pepper to the marinade)
1 jalapeno
1 packet ranch dressing mix (we used what was labeled “ranch dip seasoning”)
1 cup sour cream
Flour tortillas
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese 
Your favorite hot sauce (we used Cholula)

  • Prepare a charcoal grill.
  • Combine shrimp, olive oil, lime juice, garlic and chili/cayenne in a bowl. Marinate shrimp for up to 30 minutes. Lightly oil the jalapeno and grill until nice and charred on the outside, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then discard the stem and cut in half lengthwise. Discard the seeds.
  • Meanwhile, combine the seeded jalapeno with the ranch mix and the sour cream in a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer sauce to a small bowl and refrigerate until use. Cook the shrimp on the grill until they are done, and have nice grill marks. Warm up the tortillas on the grill.
  • To assemble the tacos: spoon some Jalapeño-Ranch sauce on a tortilla, then top with shrimp (after removing the tails!), shredded lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Drizzle with extra sauce and a few drops of hot sauce.

Miso-Sriracha Glazed Salmon with Spicy Slaw


After two flavorful dinners from The Sriracha Cookbook — Ultimate Sriracha Burgers and Camarones a la Diabla — it was time for Sriracha dinner night #3. In this recipe, Sriracha plays a more subtle role, adding just a hint of spiciness to a sweet glaze balanced by the savory flavors of miso and soy sauce. Broiling caramelizes the glaze nicely, while cooking the salmon to a perfect medium/medium-rare. Most of the spice in this meal comes from the slaw. The addition of mint, peanut butter, and fish sauce is reminiscent of Thai flavors. It’s the perfect companion to the salmon, or try it as a zesty alternative to coleslaw at your next BBQ. We also made a quick side dish of sautéed sugar snap peas with fresh chopped mint to tie all the flavors together.


Miso-Sriracha Glazed Salmon

(From The Sriracha Cookbook; Serves 6)

3 TBS. toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white miso paste
3 TBS. Sriracha
1 clove garlic, minced
nonstick cooking spray (or canola oil for greasing)
6 (6-oz.) salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick (alternatively, you can buy one large salmon fillet and divide it into portions after cooking)
6 sliced green onions, green part only, for garnish (reserve the white parts for the slaw!)

  • Preheat the broiler.
  • In a small nonreactive bowl, combine the sesame oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, miso, Sriracha, and garlic.
  • Line a rimmed baking pan with foil (this will make clean-up much easier later on!) and spray with cooking spray (or lightly grease with oil). Place the salmon on the foil and brush some of the glaze over the salmon, enough to evenly cover the surface.
  • Broil 6 inches from the flame, basting the salmon twice with more glaze (we had some leftover so don’t feel like you need to use all of it). Broil until the salmon flakes easily at the center of the fillet, 9-10 minutes. Don’t be alarmed if you see some smoke. That’s what the soy sauce does when it’s caramelizing.
  • Remove salmon from baking pan and transfer fillets to plates. Garnish with green onion and serve.


Spicy Slaw

(From The Sriracha Cookbook; Serves 6-8)

For the Dressing:

1/3 cup chunky natural peanut butter
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fresh pineapple juice
1/4 cup Sriracha
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS. fish sauce
1 TBS. grated ginger
2 TBS. sugar

For the Slaw:

1 1/2 lbs. napa cabbage, shredded
1/2 lb. red cabbage, shredded (we used green, so our slaw wasn’t quite as colorful)
2 carrots, peeled and julienned (we grated them)
2 red bell peppers, seeded and julienned
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (depending on your heat tolerance, you may want to omit this. It’s already pretty spicy with the Sriracha)
6 green onions, white part only, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
salt & freshly ground black pepper

  • First, make the dressing. In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, lime juice, pineapple juice, Sriracha, garlic, fish sauce, ginger, and sugar. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Next, make the slaw. In a large bowl, mix together the napa and red (or green) cabbages, carrots, bell peppers, jalapeño, green onions, cilantro, and mint.
  • Add the dressing and toss to mix. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Camarones a la Diabla


Among many things, my friend Miriam and I share an affinity for making lists, browsing the store Anthropologie, and putting Sriracha on everything (except popcorn; we tried that; too soggy). We also love the same dish at Los Pericos, a taqueria in downtown Santa Cruz – Camarones a la Diabla, shrimp in a spicy, smokey chilie-tomato sauce. It’s the kind of dish that is painful to eat, but so enjoyable that you just keep going. A cold beer helps. Los Pericos serves their fiery shrimp next to cooling guacamole and sour cream (thank goodness), as well as rice, refried beans, corn tortillas, shredded iceburg lettuce, and a slice of (unfortunately pale, flavorless) tomato. But that’s ok because the rest of the dish is zesty and flavorful to make up for this unfortunate garnish. The entrée is a big commitment because of its size, but we usually do pretty well. So, if Los Pericos already makes our perfect spicy meal, why make the dish at home?  Well, because there’s a recipe for Camarones a la Diabla in The Sriracha Cookbook! After our successful Ultimate Sriracha Burgers, we decided to tackle a second recipe from the book together (with the help of our significant others).


What makes Camarones a la Diabla special is the addition of dried chilies in the sauce, three varieties, in fact. They are worth seeking out because their flavor is so unique – smokey, earthy, subtly spicy, and they are really what makes Camarones a la Diabla Camarones a la Diabla. Of course, this recipe includes Sriracha as well, which adds another dimension of flavor, that familiar combination of spicy, sweet, and tangy. We were surprised, though, that the Sriracha flavor wasn’t as prominent in the final dish. Setting the bottle on the table for people to add to taste was a good way to remedy this. We served our version with cilantro-lime brown rice, refried black beans, and a big salad. It was different from Los Pericos’ version; a little sweeter and more tomato-y, and didn’t quite pack as much punch as the recipe promised, but it was still “devilish” enough to keep us coming back for more.

Camarones a la Diabla

(From The Sriracha Cookbook)

6 dried guajillo chilies
4 dried arbol chilies
2 dried ancho chilies
1/3 cup Sriracha
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
3 tablespoons butter
1 large red onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 pounds tail-on shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (we used cilantro instead; it is a Mexican dish!)
warmed corn tortillas, for serving

  • Toast the chilies in a dry skillet over medium heat, 3 minutes per side. They will get really fragrant and their skin slightly charred. While the chilies are toasting, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • When the chilies are toasted and the water is boiling, drop the chilies in the boiling water, cover, remove from heat, and let steep for 20 minutes.
  • Drain the chilies, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Discard the seeds and the skins as best you can (I was impatient and tried to do this while they were still kind of hot, which made it difficult). Throw the seeded, skinned chilies into a food processor, along with the reserved liquid, the Sriracha, and 2 TBS. of  the vegetable oil. Puree until smooth, using a spatula to wipe down the sides in between pulses.
  • Place a large pot with a lid on the stove and set a mesh strainer on top (or someone can hold it over the pot for you). Spoon the pureed chile mixture into the strainer and use a wooden spoon to force it through. At first it will seem like there’s not much to push through, but be persistent with the spoon, using a stirring motion, and eventually you’ll end up with a smooth puree at the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the can of tomato puree to the pot. Simmer the tomato/chili mixture over medium heat, 12-15 minutes or until thickened. I found the mixture to already be pretty thick and it started splattering everywhere like crazy (which is why the lid is helpful), so I didn’t simmer it for the full time – maybe only 10 minutes.
  • Heat the butter and the remaining Tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 6-7 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and cook for another minute, stirring, until they get some nice color on them. Add the tomato/chile mixture to the pan with the shrimp, onions, and garlic. Stir to combine and continue cooking until shrimp are cooked through. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve over (or next to) rice and refried beans, and warmed corn tortillas. Makes 6-8 servings.

[1st post-baby dinner!] Grilled Red Trout Fillets, Artichokes, and Salad with Grilled Lime Slices


Hello oishiifood followers.  This is a guest post by Dustin.  As you all know, Brianna does most of the writing for this wonderful collection of recipes we’ve come up with/tried.  I’m usually the “behind the scenes” guy doing my part in the kitchen and behind the camera.  So it’s a treat for me to share this recipe with all of you!


We made this dinner while my dad was up visiting his new grandson.  It was actually the first dinner we made since bringing Levi home so I wanted to do something easy but also extremely delicious! My dad and I left Brianna home with Levi and went to our local market (Shopper’s Corner).  I saw these beautiful red trout fillets and asked the butcher for two pounds (there were only 3 of us but I figured my dad and I can pack down the food).  When we got it home and I unwrapped it.  I couldn’t believe how much two pounds of fish really is!  Needless to say, I have a habit of getting way too much protein when left to my own devices and two pounds was about a half-pound too much for the three of us.  We also got some organic artichokes, zucchini, and a spring salad mix.  Now that I had all this fish, I had to figure out what to do with it.  I knew I wanted to grill the artichokes and the zucchini so I figured why not grill the trout too!

*One thing to note about my cooking style is that it’s very organic and not very precise.  I just kinda go with it.  So you’ll have to forgive the imprecise measurements and trust your instincts if you try this recipe!

Trout

1/2 pound of red trout fillets per person
a few cloves of garlic, minced
a good dose of olive oil
a healthy pour of paprika
salt and pepper
juice of one medium meyer lemon (ours was home grown!)
zest of 1/2 of one meyer lemon
long metal spatula

  • Set the trout out on a baking sheet.  Allow to come to room temp.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine all the other ingredients.  It should have a nice syrup like texture.  If it’s too watery throw in some more paprika and olive oil!
  • Once the marinade is ready, get down and dirty with those trout fillets.  Rub that stuff on there like there’s no tomorrow.  Each piece should be coated evenly.  Allow to sit (on the counter or in the fridge) for at least 15 minutes.  The lemon juice may turn the top of the fillets a grayish color, don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal.
  • Once the grill is heated up and ready to go, throw on the fillets.  Cover the BBQ and let those guys cook for a little while (depending on thickness around 4-7 minutes).  Here comes the tricky part, flipping the fillets.  Time to get out (or go buy) a long metal spatula.  Trout isn’t the heartiest fish, in fact it’s pretty delicate.  The flipping part of this is kinda like punching through a board (you know like karate kid), once you commit you have to go all the way.  Cook on this side for another 2-4 minutes.
  • That’s it!  You should now have some incredibly scrumptious fish ready to serve.

Artichokes

This is the first time that I actually cooked my own artichokes believe it or not.  I mostly just made it up  as I went after reading conflicting things online about the best way to grill them.  It worked out pretty dang nicely if I may say so.

at least 1/2 an artichoke per person
1 small lime or lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper

  • Get a large pot, fill it with water, and get it boiling.
  • Meanwhile, cut off the top 1/2″ – 1″ of the artichokes depending on size.  Two things to note here: 1) Use the sharpest knife you have, these things are tough!  2) You should see a tiny bit of purple in the center of the now cut off top, though different varieties may look slightly different).
  • Use that lime or lemon and juice up the “injured” leaves.  Place the artichokes in a large bowl of cool water, squeeze the rest of the lemon or lime juice in there, and let them sit for about 10 minutes or so.
  • After their soaking time is up, hold them upside down in the cool water bath and plunge each one up and down in the water while rotating from side-to-side for a bit (it’s gets out all kinds of dirt and bugs and stuff) and then toss them in to the boiling water.
  • Cook for about 15 minutes or until the base of the large leaves feel somewhat tender and the whole thing is noticeably more flexible.
  • Allow to cool.  Then cut in half on the vertical axis (through the stem, top to bottom).
  • With a spoon, scoop out all that hairy looking stuff.  Don’t go too deep into the base though, that’s the “heart” and it’s delicious!  Get rid of the smallest rows of leaves as well, the ones with really spiky feeling tips that come out with virtually no resistance.  Put the artichokes on a platter and drizzle with a little olive oil, add some salt and pepper, and they’re ready to grill!
  • Grill “open” side down for about 5-7 minutes or until you see some nice grill marks and they just look so mouth watering you can’t bear to leave them on the grill a moment longer.
  • Serve with mayonnaise for dipping.

Salad with Grilled Lime Slices

Lettuce of your choices (we used a spring mix, red leaf would be great too) for however many people
Greek style yogurt
juice from 1 medium lime
Agave nectar
1 medium lime thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper
salt and pepper

  • Grill the lime slices until they start to caramelize a bit and you see some nice grill marks.*
  • For the dressing, combine a good dollop or two of the yogurt, the lime juice, a healthy drizzle of agave nectar, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • Toss the lettuce, sliced bell pepper and the dressing in a large salad bowl.  Dish.  Then throw a couple of the lime slices on there to make it look pretty (and taste amazing too)!

*the grilled lime slices are equally good with the trout fillets!