Grilled Artichokes with Aïoli
Boiled are steamed artichokes are delicious as it is, but cut them in half and toss them on a grill, and they become a fabulous treat. They're absolutely dreamy served with a garlicky aïoli for dipping the leaves and heart in. But you could also doctor some store-bought mayo with a squeeze of harissa from a tube, or some lemon juice and garlic, or Sriricha – really whatever sounds good – and call it aïoli. After all, that's what many a chef does! Last time I made this I cut a couple of lemons in half and grilled them, too – a squeeze on the artichokes is great, too.
The aïoli recipe makes about twice as much as you'll probably need, but I love having some extra around, as it's so delicious. Spread it on sandwiches or serve it with vegetables or meats.
2 large artichokes
Olive oil for brushing
2 lemons, halved (optional)
Aïoli for serving (recipe below)
1. Trim the artichokes' stems, cutting a bit off the bottom, but leaving an inch or two of stem (depending on how nice or icky the stems look). Break off the smallest leaves around the bottom of the artichokes, and any outer leaves that look very tough or raggedy.
2. Drop the artichokes into a large pot of boiling, salted water and cover. Cook them, turning them over with a spoon once or twice, until the crowns are just tender. You can tell they're done by poking a fork deep close to the stem into the crown; there should be some resistance, but not too much. The artichokes will take anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes to cook depending on how fresh they are.
3. Drain the artichokes (or remove them from the pot with tongs, careful to keep them stem-side up so you don't burn yourself with hot water), let them cool enough to handle and transfer them to a cutting board. (This is a good time to prepare and heat the grill.)
4. Use a sharp (not serrated) knife to slice the the artichokes in half vertically. Then use a small spoon to scrape the fuzzy stuff off the crown, and remove the spiky inner leaves.
5. Brush the artichoke halves lightly with olive oil on all sides, set them, cut-side down, on the grill, and grill until nicely charred, 3 to 5 minutes depending on how hot the grill is. Flip them over, add the lemons to the grill if using (cut side down), and grill until the artichokes and lemons are nicely charred.
6. Serve with the charred lemon halves (if using) and pass a bowl of aïoli.
8 to 10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of one medium lemon of average juiciness)
1 cup olive oil
1. Place the garlic in the bowl of a blender with the egg yolk, mustard and lemon juice. Pulse until the garlic is finely chopped and the ingredients are combined.
2. With the blender running, very slowly pour the oil in through the hole in the top in a very thin stream until it is all incorporated. Watch it closely to make sure the oil is all being incorporated. If at any point it seems very stiff and the olive oil starts pooling up, stop, transfer the contents to a bowl, and use a whisk to incorporate the oil. Continue adding the oil in a very thin stream, whisking constantly. Add salt to taste.