Roasted Artichoke with Smoky Aioli

Last week my friend Bridget and I went to the most incredible Italian restaurant called Mercato. We're suckers for BYOBs and delicious food, and Mercato fit both of those bills. The atmosphere was cozy and warm, and the menu choices were astounding. The thing that I was most impressed by was the gorgeous whole grilled artichoke that we started our meal with. Now I love anything that involves artichokes, but I had never ventured to make an entire artichoke on my own. Let me tell you, it was SO simple and SO delicious. I paired it with an smoky- citrus aioli, which made for yummy dipping with each bite.

Roasted Artichoke with Smoky Aioli
Yield: 2 Servings

1 artichoke
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lemon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
cracked black pepper
kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and your grill/ grill pan to high. Start by slicing off the top inch of pointy end of the artichoke, and slice the whole artichoke in half lengthwise. Brush the interior of the artichoke with the olive oil and sprinkle them with the cracked black pepper and kosher salt. 
Place each half down onto the grill/ grill pan, allow them to cook for about 5 minutes or until they have grill marks. Next, take a piece of aluminum foil and wrap the pieces up in a foil tent and place it in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
While they're roasting, cut the lemon into quarters. Next, whisk together the juice of 1 quarter of the lemon, the mayonnaise, as well as the paprika, salt, and pepper to taste. Place this in the refrigerator to meld until the artichoke has finished roasting.
To serve, place the two halves on a plate with the leftover lemon quarters, and the smoky aioli. 

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