Monday, September 28, 2015

What's For Dinner #1: The Cheesecake Factory Fire Roasted Artichoke

Aren't they attractive vegetables?

The Cheesecake Factory Fire Roasted Artichoke has always been one of my favorite things EVER.  Just ask my husband or any of my friends and family - it is physically impossible for me to dine at the Cheesecake Factory without ordering this.  Plus, as any artichoke lover knows, it is very rare for artichokes to be served whole at a restaurant.  

So here is how you can re-create this amazing dish in the comfort of your own home.  I also want to brag that this recipe was taken from a very reliable Cheesecake Factory source, so it's legit people!  :)

  • Artichokes (1 per person).  Note that 3 halves are usually served in the Cheesecake Factory dish...!
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Aioli:
    • Mayo
    • Olive Oil
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Lemon juice
    • Parsley (chopped)
    • Minced Garlic

Just like in my Perfect Artichoke recipe, start by trimming the thorny ends of your artichoke leaves.  This is not required, but certainly makes for a more attractive presentation (not to mention a more comfortable eating experience).  

You'll also want to cut off the top 1 inch or so of the artichoke, as shown in this picture:

Next, cut off the stem of the artichoke.  I personally do not like eating the stem, but my husband does.  If you choose to, you'll just need to peel down the stem (using a vegetable peeler) since it has such a tough and stringy exterior.

Next, boil the artichokes for 20 minutes.

When the artichokes are tender after boiling in water, set them aside to let them drip dry.  The Cheesecake Factory apparently drip dries them for 2 hours... but I definitely did not do this...!  (Who has time for that??)  Regardless, as soon as the chokes are relatively dry, cut them in half.

Since the artichokes are now tender, you'll be able to easily scoop out the center thorny portions with a spoon.

Lay the hollowed out artichokes on a baking sheet, and broil them for about 10 minutes.  Make sure you keep an eye on them during this time - the broiling is to get a nice charr on them for coloring and for flavor!  The Cheesecake Factory likely grills the artichokes at this stage instead of broiling them, but I am not the best with a grill... so my Fire Roasted Artichokes were technically Oven Roasted.  If you know your way around a grill, by all means - grill away!  (You'll want to drizzle the chokes with olive oil and salt/paper before grilling or broiling!)

Now, time to make the Cheesecake Factory garlic aioli!  Full disclosure - I am aware that the Cheesecake Factory typically serves their artichokes with not one but TWO delicious dipping sauces. I'm afraid I only have the recipe for the garlic aioli, but if anyone out there has the recipe for the vinaigrette, please let me know!!  (BTW, there have been times where I am only served 1 dipping sauce when dining at Cheesecake - if this happens to you, YOU'RE MISSING OUT.  Make sure you ask for the second dipping sauce!)

For the dip, mix together the mayo, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice and parsley.  I'm afraid I do not have measurements for these, so use your best cooking judgement.  We LOVE garlic so I put a ton in our aioli, but you may prefer hardly any - up to you!  Put your chef's hat on!

Mix together until creamy!

And that's it, you're done!  It's really pretty low maintenance, right?  

Hopefully your finished product closely resembles the Cheesecake Factory's - I felt like mine did, and I was SUPER happy about this.  Now, if only I could figure out how to grill, and how to make that vinaigrette dipping sauce...!

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