As fresh artichokes begin to appear in the spring I often wonder why I don't cook with them more often. Something about these spiky green balls is a little intimidating. Occasionally I would make a decorative center piece, they would soon dry out and get tossed out. Ive always used the marinated or frozen ones, but now that its early spring pick a couple fresh ones up to serve with this delicious Parmesan Basil Aioli.
- 2 large artichokes
- About 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tb chopped basil
- 1 Tb lemon juice
- 1/4 ts -1/2 ts minced garlic
- ground pepper and salt
Start by trimming about 1 and 1/2 inches off the top of the artichokes. Remove a couple layers of the tough outside leaves. Use scissors to remove all of the thorns. Now the bottom. Trim off the stem of the artichoke, creating somewhat of a flat surface. So the artichoke does not discolor, rub everything you have cut with lemon. Steam until tender, usually this takes a little less than an hour. Remove from water and let cool.
Mix mayonnaise, basil, (save a little basil for garnish), lemon juice, Parmesan , garlic and pepper. Refrigerate. Now remove the leaves from the artichoke, arrange the leaves flesh side up. The small leaves you can nibble on when no ones looking, the prickly center..toss. The heart which is at the base can be trimmed and chopped, adding to the mayonnaise mixture.
Place a small teaspoon of the mayonnaise mixture on each artichoke leaf. Sprinkle with remaining. When serving, place a small bowl next to the leaves for the ones that have already been nibbled on. A delicious spring treat.