Rossi’s grilled artichokes are easy-to-prepare and over-the-top delicious.

Michael Rossi, executive chef at The Ranch Restaurant and Saloon in Anaheim, often enhances the deep flavors in his dishes with fruits or vegetables grown on the restaurant’s local farm.

His seasonally-driven American regional cuisine combines straightforward tastes of produce picked at the height of ripeness in irresistible combinations, everything from rabbit served with hand-crafted sweet potato gnocchi to Skuna Bay salmon served with vine-dried grapes and citrus-spiked broth.

For summer entertaining at home, Rossi suggests grilled artichokes. He says that not only are they delicious, but most of the work can be done in advance.

The artichokes can be trimmed and steamed, cooled and refrigerated airtight, up to a day in advance.

The sauce, garlic-spiked lemon vinaigrette, can also be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated. The host can slather the vinaigrette on the artichokes before guests arrive, and grill them before serving.

The Ranch Restaurant (with its own private entrance) is located next door to The Ranch Saloon at 1025 E. Ball Road, Anaheim.  714- 817-4200

Rossi’s Grilled Artichokes with Garlic-Lemon Sauce
Yield: 6 servings
3 medium-large artichokes with stems
Bowl of cold water with about 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
For steaming: salt, sprig of fresh thyme, small lemon wedge
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, lemon-enhanced oil preferred
Small pinch dried red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 to 7 large garlic cloves, finely chopped, see cook’s notes
1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley, divided use
1 teaspoon minced lemon zest
For grilling: 3 lemons, halved
Cook’s notes: If you prefer, use half raw garlic and half roasted garlic.
1. Trim artichokes: Snap off inedible portion of the large outside leaves, leaving the edible portion of each broken leaf attached. To do this, fold the large dark green outer leaves down on themselves; they will snap and break, leaving the “meat” attached to the heart. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to trim stem. Cut off top portion, about 3/4-inch from tip and a small portion off the bottom of the stem. Cut artichoke in half from top to bottom; spoon out choke. Place in a bowl of acidulated water. Repeat with remaining artichokes.
2. Place salt, thyme and lemon wedge in water at the bottom of a steamer; bring to boil. Place steamer in the top portion of steamer. Cover and steam until heart is tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile prepare the sauce: In a small bowl or a measuring cup with a handle, whisk together juice, oil, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir in garlic, 3 tablespoons parsley and zest. Set aside. Both artichokes and sauce can be prepared a day ahead to this point and refrigerated.
4. Heat grillpan or barbecue. Stir sauce and spoon onto cut sides and between leaves of artichokes. Leftover mixture can be used as a dipping sauce. Season artichokes with salt and pepper. Grill artichokes, turning as needed to add grill marks and heat through. Also grill lemons (cut-side down) until dark grillmarks form. Grilling times will vary, but figure about 5 to 6 minutes per side for the artichokes when using a grillpan, a little less time when barbecuing. Place on plate cut-side up and if desired, drizzle with any leftover sauce mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Accompany with grilled lemons.

Source: Michael Rossi, executive chef at The Ranch Restaurant and Saloon, Anaheim

… a quick tip from Melissa’s Produce …

Whether simply blanched, steamed or grilled, artichoke halves make great containers for summer salads. Seafood salad or vegetable salad, or here, a potato salad flavor-spiked with chicken. The recipe is adapted from “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce.”

Artichoke Boat Filled With Chicken-Potato Salad
Yield: 6 servings
3 large artichokes, with stems preferred
Juice of one small lemon, divided use
1 pound small Yukon gold potatoes or small red potatoes
Pinch salt
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
1 large sweet onion, peeled, finely chopped
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (boiled, poached, or roasted, bones and skin removed)
Garnish: mixed baby greens
Garnish: sprigs fresh tarragon
1. Prep artichokes and steam or blanch (see Michael Rossi’s recipe above). Grill if desired. Cool. Chill.
2. For salad: Place potatoes in large saucepan and cover with water. Add pinch of salt to water and bring to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are fork tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes in half or quarters to produce small, bite-size pieces.
2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine celery, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, vinegar, pepper, tarragon and onion. Stir to combine. Add potatoes; toss, cover and refrigerate until chilled.
3. Add chicken to potato mixture; toss. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Line 6 dinner plates with small portion of mixed baby greens. Place artichoke halves in middle, cut side up. Filled artichokes with salad. Garnish each with tarragon sprig and serve.
Adapted from “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce” by Cathy Thomas (Wiley, $29.95)