Monday, June 13, 2011

Grilled Artichoke with Basil-Garlic Mayonnaise

My mother used to steam artichokes when I was growing up. 
We had round white plates with a rounded spot in the center for the artichoke and oblong impressions around the side to put the melted butter and discarded leaves. We usually shared one artichoke between two of us and had to fight over dividing up the divine artichoke heart, but occasionally we got our very own artichoke. When we lived in San Diego while I was going to law school, we grew a few artichokes in our back yard. They were full of ants and hard as blazes. It did not inspire us to grow them a second year. Shortly after moving to Redlands, we attended the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Devore and there I had one of the best artichokes I've ever eaten. It had mayonnaise as a dipping sauce, the first time I'd ever had mayonnaise with artichoke. I still dream about that thing occasionally. I recently had an artichoke as an appetizer at King's Fish House in Rancho Cucamonga that may replace the dream. 
It was char-grilled which gave it a nice burnt and smoky taste and smeared with melted butter. It was great that way, with the addition of a little salt. But it also came with some creamy basil-garlic mayonnaise which was a nice and wonderful addition. 
It covered up the taste of the artichoke, when put on in much quantity, but that is usually why you eat an artichoke, to have the butter or mayonnaise. Except that this artichoke was really good on its own and didn't need the help. I would eat this artichoke 1/2, as-is, 
and 1/2 with the mayonnaise.  

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