Steal This Recipe® Grilled Artichokes with Spicy Tomato Mayo

May 22, 2014

From Chef, Owner & Winemaker Frank Ostini of Hitching Post II Restaurant & Winery, CA

“Stolen with permission” from Chef, Owner and Winemaker Frank Ostini, of the Hitching Post II Restaurant & Winery in Buellton, California this delicious artichoke recipe is sure to impress your friends and family.

On the central coast of California, BBQ has always meant grilling over an open fire of red oak, a style of cooking that is native to the area and goes back to the days of the Spanish Rancheros. About 30 miles north of Santa Barbara, The Hitching Post II blends traditional Santa Maria Barbecue with eclectic local ingredients and award winning wines for an exciting cuisine that is uniquely its own.

Mingled with the scent of pine and eucalyptus, the deep fragrance of red oak barbecue pervades the parking lot. Black and white photos of generations of men on horseback hang on the walls of the simply decorated room. The main attraction is the indoor barbecue, staged behind glass, where guests can watch Frank and Bradley Lettau, The Hitching Post II’s Chef de Cuisine, grilling patron’s food on the wood fire. 

Adjacent is the bar, (made famous by the Academy Award® winning movie Sideways) where locals and visitors line up early for great conversation, local wines and a glass of the signature Hartley Ostini Hitching Post “Highliner” Pinot Noir. So, if you are in the area you should stop in at the Hitching Post and you can even cheat a little when you recreate this dish, because you can buy Spicy Smoked Tomato Pesto from the restaurant or their website and mix with mayo for the recipe.

About the chef: the Buellton Hitching Post II opened in 1986, but its roots started at the Casmalia Hitching Post in 1952. It was there that Frank & Natalie Ostini brought "Santa Maria Style BBQ" to its peak of perfection and where their children Bill, Bob, Terri and Annette continue to work to this day.

When returning from college in 1976, Frank Ostini helped out in the kitchen for what he thought would be a short stint. Today he is the owner of his own restaurant, The Hitching Post II, and is also - along with partner Gray Hartley - co-owner and winemaker of the Hitching Post Winery. The winery has 800 barrels and produces about 15,000 cases a year and specializes in Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir. 

"When I began working in my family's restaurant after college, I found that when I fell in love with wine, I fell in love with the restaurant business. I finally understood dining as an event and as a social occasion,” Frank says. “To me, food by itself seemed boring, but once you put wine on the table and have different wines combining with different foods, it all became very interesting to me and I was hooked.”

Grilled Artichokes with Spicy Smoked Tomato Mayonnaise is served at  Hitching Post II for $10.95.

This recipe makes 6 restaurant servings.

Hitching Post II
406 East Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427

Grilled Artichokes with Spicy Smoked Tomato Mayonnaise Ingredients:
6 artichokes

Basting for artichokes (mix together):
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning

Spicy Smoked Tomato Mayonnaise Ingredients:
4 ounces garlic cloves
1 pound onions, large, sliced thin
4 Pasilla peppers, halved
4 tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 quart mayonnaise

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Spicy Smoked Tomato Mayonnaise:

Slow roast the garlic cloves and onions over oak fire until soft. (If you don’t have an oak fire, roast them in the oven on a medium heat until soft.)
Dry the pasilla peppers and tomatoes in an oak smoker until semi-soft. (If you don’t have an oak smoker, roast them in the oven on a medium heat until semi-soft).
Puree garlic, onions, tomatoes & pasillas. 
Add the dry ingredients and mix in the mayonnaise.

Steal This Recipe® Step by Step Instructions for the Artichokes:
Break off the artichokes' small outside leaves. 
Cut off the top with a knife and trim the sharp points of the leaves with scissors. 
Soak in water; then wash with cold water to remove sand. 
Steam until heart is tender, approximately 25 to 35 minutes depending upon size. Allow to cool. 
Cut in half and remove chokes with a spoon.
Grill on the barbecue, basting with the butter, oil, white wine, and lemon until warm and crispy.
Season with salt and pepper mixture. 

Serve with the Spicy Smoked Tomato Mayonnaise.