Grilled Artichokes with Harissa Mayonnaise

Grilled Artichokes

Excerpted from How to Grill Vegetables by Steven Raichlen, photographs by Steven Randazzo. Workman Publishing © 2021.

In traditional meat grilling—think ribs—we’re taught never, ever to boil. Not so with artichokes, for which blanching (cooking briey in boiling water) prior to grilling can dramatically improve the texture. Artichokes are intrinsically dense and dry, and blanching softens and moistens their tough plant fibers, making them all the more ready to absorb the smoke flavor that will come from your wood or wood-enhanced fire. Said smoke becomes trapped between the leaves, adding a barbecue flavor you donat normally associate with this edible overgrown thistle.


Grilled Artichokes with Harissa Mayonnaise

Recipe Notes

  • Active Prep: 10 minutes for trimming the artichokes, plus 10 to 15 minutes for boiling them
  • Grill Time: 6 to 8 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Method: Direct Grilling



  • 1 lemon
  • 4 artichokes, preferably large globe artichokes
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • Vegetable oil for oiling the grill grate
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Harissa Mayonnaise plus 1 tablespoon harissa, for serving
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives (optional)

Recipe Steps

1: Finely grate the lemon zest and set it aside. Cut the lemon in half.

2: Using kitchen scissors, cut the prickly tips off the artichoke leaves. Trim 1/8 inch off the end of the artichoke stems. (The rest of the stem is edible.) Using a chef’s knife, cut each artichoke in half lengthwise. Cut the top half-inch off each artichoke half and discard. Using a melon baller or spoon, scrape out and discard the “choke” (the clump of fibers just above the heart). Rub the cut parts of the artichokes with the cut sides of the lemon to keep the artichokes from browning.

3: Bring 1 gallon of water with 4 teaspoons of salt to a boil in a large stockpot.

4: Place the artichokes in the boiling water and cook until just tender, 10 to 15 minutes, or as needed. Use a metal skewer to test for doneness: It should pierce the artichoke with just a little resistance. Do not overcook: The artichokes should remain firm. Drain the artichokes in a colander, running cold water over them until they are cool. Position the artichokes cut side down on a wire rack over a rimmed sheet pan and drain well. The artichokes can be cooked ahead to this stage and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

5: Set up your grill for direct grilling and heat to high. If using a charcoal grill, place hardwood chunks or chips on the coals. If using a gas grill, place a few wood chunks in the smoker box or directly over the burners under the grate. If using a wood-burning grill, do nothing more than light it: Don’t let the flames die down completely—flames mean smoke and smoke means flavor. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it well.

6: Stir the lemon zest and garlic into the olive oil. Brush the cut sides of the artichokes with the lemon-garlic oil and dab more oil between and over the leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the artichoke halves, cut sides down, on the grill, running diagonal to the bars of the grate. Grill for about 2 minutes or so, then give each artichoke a quarter turn to lay on a crosshatch of grill marks. Grill until the cut side is darkly browned, about 2 minutes more. Baste the tops of the artichokes with the oil, dabbing it under the leaves.

7: When the cut sides are nicely browned, turn the artichokes over and grill the leaf side, again basting with the lemon-garlic oil. The artichokes are ready when sizzling hot and browned on both sides and easy to pierce with a fork, another 2 to 4 minutes, 6 to 8 minutes in all. Transfer the artichokes to a platter or plates, cut sides up. Spoon some of the Harissa Mayonnaise into the hollow part of the artichokes. Spoon a dab of straight harissa in the center and sprinkle with the chives (if using). Serve the remaining Harissa Mayonnaise on the side.

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How to Grill Vegetables

How to Grill Vegetables

Steven Raichlen offers a primer for how to grill vegetables — with lots of creative flavors and techniques — whether you’re eating main dishes that highlight vegetables, or you’re rounding out the barbecue menu with grilled garden-fresh sides.

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