A warm summer evening. Itâ€™s time for a home-made dinner, but who wants to stay inside on an evening like that. Letâ€™s go out. A dinner on the balcony. A few candles lit to give the evening an even more relaxed ambience. Tranquil music in the background mixes with some pleasant sounds from the garden and nearby park. Bliss. Letâ€™s eat. Letâ€™s talk. Letâ€™s enjoy the evening.
What could be better for a light summery dinner than some grilled vegetables. And the winning duo of early summer days are the artichokes and asparagus. Delicate flavours of vegetables are smartly accentuated by the lemon and garlic dressing. Hmm, a charcoal grill would be ideal for this, but even our home grill does the job well.
And here we are, sat on the balcony, mouthful by mouthful enjoying the artichokes and asparagus. Best enjoyed eaten with fingers if you ask me. Perhaps it gets more messy, but itâ€™s so much more satisfying than proper fork and knife etiquette. Itâ€™s all about taking it easy tonight. Enjoying the moment. Right here. Right now.
2 fresh artichokes
Bunch of fresh asparagus
1 lemon, sliced
Juice of half a lemon
75ml extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Wash artichokes and asparagus under running cold water.
Prepare a large bowl full of water with a splash of lemon juice and keep the artichokes in the water whilst youâ€™re not working on them. This will prevent from browning.
To prepare the artichokes, trim about 2 cm from top of each artichoke. Peel the stems with a vegetable peeler. Remove and discard any loose bottom leaves. Using scissors, trim 1cm off top of outer leaves. Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise. Remove choke using a small spoon or melon baller.
Trim the asparagus stalks, removing the hard ends if needed and cut them in half.
Bring a large pan of salted water with a splash of lemon to a boil. Place the artichokes onto the boiling water and simmer for 12 minutes. Add the asparagus and simmer for another 3 minutes. Rinse the vegetables under cold running water and drain well.
In a small bowl mix the olive oil with lemon juice of half a lemon and crushed garlic cloves and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Brush the artichokes and asparagus with some of the dressing.
Grill the vegetables and half of the sliced lemons on a preheated grill over medium-high heat on both sides, adding some more dressing as you turn the vegetables on the other side. This should take about 10-12 minutes.
Serve warm, drizzled with the remaining dressing together with lemon slices.