Lately, it’s all I can do to keep from shouting, “Spring is here! Spring is here!” After the longest, gloomiest, most winter-y like winter I can remember, these days of sunshine, and balmy air, and blooming and budding everything are positively intoxicating. And then there are the new spring crops: artichokes, asparagus, strawberries, green garlic!
Inspired by the season, I opted to listen to Alice Waters: “When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is.” And what it is, is good–bright and earthy and nutty and tasting of the promise of sunshine. You can make a light meal of these artichokes with some crusty bread, or serve them alongside grilled, herb-rubbed steak.
- 4 artichokes
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 c chopped parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 c your favorite mayonnaise (jarred or homemade)
- To prepare the artichokes, pull off the tough outer leaves–when leaves begin snapping off easily, they’re ready. Trim off the sharp, pointy tops and discard. Bring a large, salted pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating, zest the lemon and set aside zest. Squeeze the lemon into the water, toss in the halves and add the whole artichokes. Finish bringing to a boil, then lower to a lively simmer.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine lemon zest, olive oil, minced garlic, parsley, and salt and pepper. Reserve 1 Tbs.
- After about 10-12 minutes, check for doneness by pulling on one of the artichoke’s outer leaves–if it comes off easily, they are done. Remove artichokes to a plate with a slotted spoon and allow to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, cut artichokes in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop out the hairy “choke” from the heart and discard.
- Place artichoke halves in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil mixture, tossing and gently massaging to get some of the marinade between the leaves. Heat a grill pan or charcoal grill to medium-hot.
- Place the artichokes on the grate or in the pan, and cook until grill marks appear, flipping and cooking both sides. As they cook, combine the reserved 1 Tbs olive oil mixture with the mayonnaise. Remove artichokes to a platter and serve hot or at room temperature with aioli for dipping.