Summer vegetables are amazing. I get so excited when we get our garden started this time of year and then forget that I have to wait before the plants actually produce anything. Just when it seems like tomatoes and corn and squash are right around the corner, it turns out they’re still a couple months out. So what’s a summer produce loving girl supposed to do? Embrace spring vegetables, which, for me, meant trying fresh artichokes for the first time.
Artichokes are sort of prehistoric looking, don’t you think? The thorns and seemingly complicated process of preparing them turned me off for a long time. As good as the recipes I saw looked, figuring out how to cook them didn’t seem worth it since I had no idea if I would even like them (I only feel so-so about the canned variety). But when I was shopping a couple weeks ago and needed a vegetable to grill, I figured it was as good of time as any to finally tackle these because, well, nothing else was jumping out at me and the baby artichokes didn’t look as intimidating.
You know where this is going. I tried them. I loved them. Grilling makes everything better and all that. I probably shouldn’t admit that I had to Google how to eat artichokes, but I totally did. Sadly, I didn’t do that until after having several bites that were basically inedible. Learn from my mistake! (Here’s a video in case you’re an artichoke newbie like I was.)
This salad is the spring version of the roasted winter vegetable chopped salad I posted a couple months ago (and inspired by the version I had while visiting my pal Josie last year). In addition to the artichokes, this version has bright green peas and some delicious pea shoots to top it all off. They’re fresh and bright, and they contrast well with the grilled romaine and artichokes. Summer will be here before we know it, but now I’ve got something to hold me over until my beloved tomatoes and corn are back in season. Oh! If you have leftover dressing, I highly recommend brushing it on a few slices of crusty bread and grilling those.
- YIELD: 4 salads
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for dressing
3 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Zest of half a lemon
Juice of 1 lemon, divided
8 baby artichokes
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 heads of romaine hearts, halved lengthwise
½ cup baby green peas (thawed if frozen)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (½ cup)
Pea shoots for serving, optional
Heat a gas grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat or prepare a charcoal grill.
While the grill is heating, whisk together the oil, garlic, ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
Fill a medium bowl with water and squeeze the juice of half a lemon into it. Toss the juiced lemon half in, as well. To prepare the artichokes, snip off the thorny tips and trim the stem so that about 1 inch remains. Peel the remaining stem with a vegetable peeler. Remove the tough outer leaves, then use a serrated knife to cut the artichokes in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove the fuzzy choke, if needed (not all of my baby artichokes had this). Immediately place into the water.
When ready to grill, drain the artichokes and place on a baking sheet. Brush each cut side with the oil mixture. Place on the grill, cut-side down and cook, turning occasionally, for 25-30 minutes.
Pour about 1 tablespoon of the oil mixture over the chicken and rub all over. Reserve remaining oil. The chicken needs to cook about 7 minutes per side, so put it on once the artichokes have been cooking for about 10 minutes. Once the chicken reaches 160ºF, remove from the grill and cover with foil.
Grill the romaine last, about 1-2 minutes per side, just until it’s lightly charred.
To make the dressing, add enough oil to the oil mixture for it to reach ¼ cup. Whisk in the juice of the remaining half of lemon. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Once everything has been grilled, assemble the salads. Chop the romaine hearts into bite-sized pieces and distribute among serving bowls. Chop the chicken into pieces and divide among bowls. Remove the charred outer leaves of the artichokes, then divide among bowls. Add the peas, basil and feta to each bowl. Drizzle with dressing and top with pea shoots, if using.