Artichokes with Meyer Lemon Aioli
Fresh baby artichokes are available in spring and early summer. Peel, trim and parboil them before grilling to soften them. If fresh baby artichokes are not available, you can use store-bought imported artichokes packed in oil, but be sure to drain them well.
For the Meyer lemon aioli:
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
- 3 to 4 Tbs. fresh Meyer lemon juice
- 2 lemons
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 Tbs. salt, plus more, to taste
- 4 black peppercorns
- 15 to 20 small artichokes
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs. dried oregano
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
To make the aioli, pour the canola oil and olive oil into a measuring cup with a spout. In a blender or food processor, combine the egg yolks, mustard, garlic, salt and white pepper. Pulse several times until the garlic is pulverized. With the motor running, add the oils in a slow, steady stream. Stir in 3 Tbs. of the lemon juice. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. lemon juice if needed to thin the aioli; it should be the consistency of mayonnaise. Spoon into a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Cut 1 of the lemons into quarters; halve and juice the remaining lemon and set aside. Fill a large saucepan three-fourths full of water. Add the lemon quarters, garlic, the 1 Tbs. salt and the peppercorns to the saucepan. Have ready a bowl of ice water.
Snap off the tough outer leaves of the artichokes to reveal the pale inner leaves. Using a serrated knife, trim off 1/2 inch of the spiky tips. Using a paring knife, cut off the stems 1/2 inch from the bottom and peel the remaining stems. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, cut them in half lengthwise and add to the saucepan.
Cut out a parchment paper circle with a center vent and fit it inside the pan. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the artichokes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the artichokes to the ice water. Drain and let dry on paper towels.
In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, reserved lemon juice and oregano. Add the artichokes and stir to coat. Season with salt and black pepper. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate or a vegetable-grilling basket.
Arrange the artichokes on the grate or in the basket directly over medium-high heat. Grill, turning often, until lightly charred on all sides and crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
Arrange the artichokes on a platter and serve hot off the grill with the Meyer lemon aioli on the side. Serves 6.
Note: This recipe contains eggs that are not cooked. They run a risk of being infected with salmonella or other bacteria, which can lead to food poisoning. This risk is of most concern to small children, older people, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system. If you have health and safety concerns, do not consume raw or partially cooked eggs; seek out a pasteurized egg product to replace them.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).