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Charred Artichokes with Smoky Lemon Aioli

Charred Artichokes with Smoky Lemon Aioli

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Set a steamer basket in a large pot with a lid, fill with 1 inch of water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Set the artichokes stem end down in the basket, cover, and steam until a knife meets no resistance when it pierces the stem of an artichoke, 20-25 minutes. Slice the artichokes in half lengthwise.

Heat a well-oiled grill or cast-iron skillet. Add the artichokes, cut side down, on the hot surface and let sit until they are slightly blackened. (Charred or just steamed, the artichokes can be served warm or slightly chilled.)

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk the aioli, dill, capers, lemon zest and juice, sea salt, and paprika until well combined. Add the hot sauce, season with black pepper, to taste, and stir.

To serve, arrange the artichokes in 4 salad plates, and divide the aioli mixture among small bowls for dipping.

Crispy Baby Artichokes with Lemon Aïoli

At the reception for his Beard House dinner last July, David Uygur could barely get these baby artichokes out of the fryer before they were gobbled up. Deep-fried to a light golden crisp and served with a tangy mayonnaise, this hors d&rsquooeuvre was the hit of the night.


  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Juice and minced zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup peanut or canola oil
  • Salt
  • 16 baby artichokes
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon or 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • Peanut oil, for deep frying
  • Sea salt


To make the aïoli, whisk together the egg yolks, mustard, garlic, and lemon juice and zest in a medium bowl. While whisking, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Continue whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and more lemon juice to taste. Refrigerate until serving.

To make the artichokes, fill a large nonreactive bowl with cold water and add the lemon juice. Pare off the tough outer leaves of the artichokes, trim the tops, and cut them in half. Soak in the acidulated water until ready to fry, no more than 30 minutes.

In a deep fryer, heat the peanut oil to 325°F. Pat the artichoke halves dry with a towel and fry them for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender and starting to color. Remove artichokes to drain on paper towels. Raise the fryer temperature to between 350°F and 360°F. Fry the artichokes until golden and crispy. Season with sea salt and serve immediately with the chilled lemon aïoli.

Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Aioli

I lost an SD card that had 2 food blog photo shoots and video shoots on it! The worst!

I have turned my house upside down looking for it with no luck, and it whereabouts is now the biggest mystery of my life. I don’t know where on earth it could be. Our house is less than 900 square feet, there are only so many places it can be hiding.

The good news is, only the “prep” portion of the photo’s and video were on that SD card. All of the “during” and “after” photo’s and videos were on a different SD card. Thankfully, these steamed artichokes with lemon garlic aioli are fairly self explanatory, so it’s not the end of the world that I lost half the video footage.

The other recipe is a little more involved, so looks like I’ll be making that recipe again this weekend so I can salvage the video.

Do you all love artichokes as much as I do? I get so happy when they are in season, one of the best parts of summer. Oh, I could just eat them every day.

This is a far cry from when I was a kid, and the first time I tried them I hated them. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that the dipping sauce I ate them with was mayonnaise. Just plain, room temperature mayo. Ick!

Artichokes are all about the dipping sauce, and this lemon garlic aioli is the BEST artichoke dipping sauce. It’s base is mayonnaise, but it’s made infinitely better by adding in some grated garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. It’s flavorful, and the perfect pairing for meaty artichokes.

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Garlic Aioli

I received artichokes in my vegetable box this week, and I was inspired to recreate a recipe we made camping in Hawai’i a few weeks ago. Simple grilled artichokes. We made them as toppings for our dutch oven pizza, but most got eaten before they made it that far.

These things are a perfect appetizer to share camping. The secret to grilled artichokes is to steam them first. I like to steam them in a broth made with lemon, garlic, and lots of herbs. Then I chop them in half (cut them through the stem side, as in the picture above).

Scoop out the choke with a small spoon and grill them on all sides to add some smokiness and crunch.

And then of course, I dip them in a lemon garlic aioli (or just straight up mayonnaise). If you don’t have the time (or water) to steam them in camp, this step can be done before leaving home. Grilling them is a great way to reheat them, and a great excuse to get the campfire started.

Grilled Artichokes with Meyer Lemon/Mint Aioli


  • 4 large artichokes
  • 3 large lemons
  • 3 T lemon olive oil
  • 3 T chopped mint
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 3/4 c mayonaise
  • 1/4 c nonfat greek yogurt


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Trim stem of each artichoke to 1 inch, and snap off dark outer leaves. Use a sharp knife to trim off the top inch from the artichoke leaves. Use a paring knife to peel the dark green skin from the stem and base of artichoke. Slice each artichoke in half lengthwise. Use a paring knife to remove the choke and the purple, prickly-tipped leaves from center of each half. Place prepped artichokes in a large bowl of cold water with juice of 2 lemons.

Drain artichokes, and cook in boiling salted water until just tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 12 minutes. Drain artichokes, and pat dry.

Heat a gas grill to medium-high. Carefully wipe the preheated grates with a lightly oiled paper towel.

Toss artichokes in oil. Grill artichokes, cut sides down, uncovered, over direct heat, turning occasionally, until tender and lightly charred in spots, about8- 10 minutes. Halve remaining lemon. Grill lemon, cut sides down, and chile until charred and softened, about 5 minutes.

Squeeze juice from warm grilled lemons into a bowl, discarding seeds. Scoop out lemon flesh, coarsely chop, and add to juice. Whisk in mayonnaise, yogurt, mint, garlic, and salt. Serve warm artichokes with aioli and grilled bread.

I served the grilled artichokes with simple grilled bread alongside fresh halibut. They would also be great with chicken or steak. I don’t know about you but leftovers for breakfast would work for me as well.

What wine to serve with the grilled artichokes with lemon mint aoli? Artichokes have the reputation of being a “wine-killer”. “A compound in artichokes called cynarin supposedly binds to the sweet receptors on the tongue, temporarily shutting them off. As you sip your wine,” the cynarin is pulled off of the receptor, reactivating it”. For this reason, most wine experts recommend buying a highly acidic dry wine that has little or no residual sugar such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinto Grigio, Gruner Veltliner, or an Albarino .

One of our favorite local wineries, Morgan Winery has a great Sauvignon Blanc, and an Albarino that would pair beautifully with this dish. Morgan doesn’t have a bad wine in their lineup. If you are looking to join a wine club you might give them a try. Their Pinots are some of the best.

You might find the following articles helpful when pairing wines with artichokes.

  • I hope you will enjoy this recipe for grilled artichokes with lemon-mint aioli as much as I have. You can prepare the artichokes and the aioli in advance and serve at room temperature to make things simpler. Of course, they are best fresh off the grill!

In a deep pot, add enough water to cover artichokes 3/4 way up.

Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. balsamic, garlic salt, onion powder, bay leaf, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Add trimmed artichokes stem side up and cover with a fitted lid.

-Reduce heat to a simmer for about 35 minutes or until a knife inserted down into stem goes in with little resistance.

Remove artichokes and carefully place stem side up on a cutting board.

Cut in half and remove the inedible leaves and “fuzzies” with a spoon.

Combine remaining olive oil and vinegar and brush over cut sides of the artichoke halves. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Place the chokes cut side down on hot grill for about 30 seconds or until charred with grill marks.

How do you eat smoked artichokes?

There&rsquos something novel about a platter of globe artichokes and a tempting dipping sauce. Aside from the look, which is definitely unique, the method of eating them is both delicate and hedonisticat the same time. Pulling the petals one by one from the stem, dipping them into the creamy lemon tarragon aioli and scraping off the tender parts of the instant pot steamed artichoke with your teeth. It&rsquos a very hands on, communal experience that you just can&rsquot get with a house salad. This is definitely meant to be shared and I&rsquod recommend it for special date nights and anniversaries.

If you have any of the lemon tarragon aioli leftover, it&rsquos great spread on a chicken sandwich the next day.


Lemon Aioli

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup evoo
  • 1/2 cup garlic oil
  • 3 cloves garlic confit
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 anchovy, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons minced preserved lemon

Preserved Lemon

  • 6 lemons, or 2 pounds of mixed sour citrus (Buddha’s hand, finger limes, kumquats, etc)
  • Thai chile for heat (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil


The Artichokes

Wash and drain the artichokes, and strip them of the coarse outer leaves around the base and stalk. Leave the softer leaves on. Using a paring knife or peeler, peel the stalks and trim to about two inches below the base. Slice off the top 1/2 inch of the artichokes. Cut each artichoke in half. Rub in lemon juice to keep from browning.

Fry in batches at 250 degrees until they start to brown around edges.

Lay them cut side down on sheet trays lined with paper towels.

To serve, fry again at 375 degrees for a few moments until crisp. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with a lemon aioli.

MAKE AHEAD You can fry the artichokes the first time the day before, then refry just before serving.

Lemon Aioli


Peel the garlic. Place the olive oil and garlic cloves in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat, cooking very gently for about 30 minutes, or until the cloves are tender and a knife can pierce them easily. Let the garlic cool in the oil. Reserve the oil.

Once cool, mince the garlic cloves with the salt.

In a blender or food processor, blend the egg with the garlic and salt mixture. As you blend, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of the reserved garlic-infused olive oil, along with the additional 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil. Next, blend in the mustard, anchovy, minced preserved lemon, lemon juice and lemon zest.

Preserved Lemon

Slice the lemons. Layer into a jar, alternating a dusting of sugar and salt between each layer. Add Thai chiles if you are using. Let sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Fill the jar with enough olive oil to cover the lemons, and place back in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Drain the olive oil, and the lemons are ready for use.

Photograph by Madeleine Hill.

Like this recipe? You may also enjoy:

Fettuccine Primavera

Risotto with Spring Peas and Morel Mushrooms

Mixed Greens Pasta

Seared Calamari Salad with Mint

Gnocchi Quatro Fromaggio

Classic Tomato Sauce with Tuscan Sun Seasoning

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Steamed Artichokes With Roasted Garlic Aioli

The simplest way to eat artichokes is to steam them and dip the leaves into warm melted butter with a squeeze of fresh lemon. I love serving artichokes this way but when you want something with a little more pizazz, consider a perfectly steamed artichoke served with roasted garlic aioli.

This probably sounds a whole lot fancier than it is: All you need to do is roast some garlic in a touch of olive oil, and then smash it and mix with mayonnaise, salt, pepper and lemon juice. The aioli can be made a day ahead of time.


For the roasted garlic aioli:

  • 1 small head garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Make the roasted garlic aioli: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut about ½ inch off the top of the garlic and remove. Place the garlic in a small ovenproof skillet and pour the oil on top. Season with salt and pepper. Roast on the middle shelf for around 10 to 15 minutes or until tender when tested with a small, sharp knife. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.
  2. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves out of the skin and place in a medium bowl. Using a kitchen fork, mash the garlic into a thick paste. Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. The aioli can be made a day ahead of time cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Trim the artichoke as described in “Trim an Artichoke” below. Fill a large pot with about 3 inches of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the artichokes and the lemon wedge (the acid in the lemon will keep the artichoke from turning brown) stem side down, cover and cook for about 18 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the artichoke. Flip the artichoke from side to side one or two times during the cooking process so it cooks evenly on all sides. The artichoke is done when you can easily pull out a green leaf.
  4. To eat: Serve the artichoke hot or at room temperature. Pull the leaves out of the artichoke and dip into the aioli.
  5. If you’ve never eaten a fresh artichoke before: Place the paler green end of the leaf/petal into the aioli dip and then into your mouth. Pull, scraping through your teeth to enjoy the soft portion of the leaf/petal. Then discard the remaining leaf/petal. When you’ve eaten all the outer petals and reach the thinner, inner leaves/petals with purple tips, pull them away from the choke and discard.
  6. Now it’s time to cut out the prize: the artichoke heart. With a knife or spoon, scrape out the inedible fuzzy part (called the "choke") covering the artichoke heart and discard. Below the choke is the heart. Cut the heart into small pieces and dip into the aioli.

Recipe for making cheats’ aïoli


  • 180 ml/¾ cup of good quality mayonnaise (I use the excellent Dr Will’s – follow this link to find out why)
  • 5 fat cloves of garlic (if you are able to wrap your garlic bulb in foil and roast for 20 minutes first it will gain a heavenly sweet flavour), crushed with
  • 1 teasp smoked salt
  • 1 lemon – use the juice and garnish with the zest
  • a few grinds of white pepper


Mix all together, and leave to rest for as long as you can, covered in the fridge.

You can also add:

  • parsley
  • a few strands of saffron soaked in a tbsp boiling water… if you add in a few breadcrumbs you will have made a sort of cheats’ rouille, which you can add to a fish soup
  • membrillo, or quince paste – this makes it taste more middle eastern… or Spanish
  • wasabi – to 2 tbsp aïoli add 1 tsp freshly grated wasabi – good with wasabi butter and steak
  • you can make a sort of smoked aïoli by adding ½ tsp of semi-sweet smoked paprika and using double the amount of smoked, black garlic.

And here are some very surprising additions which I discovered in Monika Linton’s Brindisa, The True Food of Spain:

  • honey
  • dark chocolate
  • squid ink
  • add walnuts and a touch of PX vinegar to the membrillo to transform the aïoli into an aïoli de Nadal – a Catalan Christmas aïoli. Serve with soft, warm hunks of bread at a Christmas Eve vigil. Catalonia is just across the border, and around the corner, from Provence, in Spain.

Uses of aïoli:

  • with croquetas de jamón (Spanish croquettes)
  • with seafood
  • with crab fishcakes
  • a dollop in fish soup
  • with olives
  • with plain boiled Jersey Royal potatoes
  • with chips or wonderful wedge lemon roasted potatoes
  • dip in halved, roasted Brussels spouts
  • with roast asparagus
  • with hamburgers
  • in a tomato sandwich
  • with hard-boiled eggs and shrimps
  • as a dip, with raw vegetables such as courgettes or cauliflower
  • it’s quite good on boiled green beans
  • with roasted aubergine
  • with almost anything roast fish, beef or lamb
  • with poached chicken (poule au pot)
  • with deep fried mussels
  • serve, as Nieves Barragán Mohacho, of Sabor, does, with griddled spring onions or calçots. Griddle the onions about five minutes each side in hot oil to get them softly charred. Squeeze over a little fresh lemon juice.
  • In a Grand Aioli – a fantastic spread, there’s a great article in The Guardian which describes a modern version… also more in the paragraph below.
  • at Melanie Arnold’s and Margot Henderson’s considered food at the Rochelle Canteen, they serve braised cuttlefish (soft as butter!) with fennel and aïoli – heaven!

The origins and development of aïoli

“The culinary landscape Curnonsky [a famous food writer of the first half of the 20th century] painted of Provence was, even then, in part, an artificial bourgeois vision at least one step removed from the rural original. The aioli enjoyed by the first generation of middle-class Parisians to spend their holidays in the Midi was Le Grand Aïoli garlic mayonnaise served with salt cod, snails, artichokes and sometimes a leg of lamb. The simple rustic version – a garlic sauce served with potatoes, carrots and whatever other vegetables might be at hand – wouldn’t have appealed.”

Michael Raffael, Provence: Twelve Journeys With a Gastronome

The stripped-back original

Michael Raffael is right. Aïoli means garlic and oil. The simplest versions involve putting garlic and salt into a pestle and mortar, and grinding, grinding, grinding whilst adding, slowly, with infinite patience, the oil in order to form an emulsion. It was a long, hard task. If the oil was added too quickly the sauce would not emulsify.

Small wonder then, that those who could afford it would add egg yolk into the mix, in order to help the emulsification process, as well as the taste, along. The next thing was to include the entire egg, thereby resulting in a sauce very akin to mayonnaise with garlic. Further developments included additions of lemon juice and mustard.

But the original, no-egg version of this sauce could be very good taken in its context. I imagine that, served over potatoes, it would have been similar to the potato version of the Greek skordalia – something I find very moreish indeed. In terms of texture and viscosity it was very similar to mayonnaise, and it looked quite like it too.

Le Grand Aïoli

Say what you like about the bourgeoisie, they didn’t do things by halves. Le Grand Aïoli (sometimes known as aïoli garni) is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

It’s a thing of beauty, because it achieves WOW factor in spades.

“’The preparation of this dish’, says JB Reboul, one of the maîtres de cuisine in Provence, ‘demands a great deal of artistic arrangement’”.

Larousse Gastronomique

And it’s a joy forever, because, for the exhausted and/or lazy (the majority of us?) as The Guardian puts it, it’s “the dinner to cook when you can’t be bothered cooking”. It’s a monster spread (indeed, it’s also sometimes referred to as aioli monstre) of all kinds of seasonal vegetables, as well as fish (the cod especially on Ash Wednesday), seafood and snails (a favourite at Christmas).

This is a sauce originating not just from Provence, but from areas adjacent, in particular, Catalonia.