Taste: Annotated Recipe: Grilled Artichokes

Spiky artichokes can be intimidating — to cook and to eat. But this get-the-grill-going recipe from chefs Evan Turney and Mackenzie Hilton, of Center City’s Mercato, demystifies the vegetable and tames its bitter rep with citrus aioli.

For grilled artichokes:
2 large artichokes
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp. extra
virgin olive oil

For citrus aioli:
2 lemons, juiced
1 orange, juiced
3 large egg yolks
½ Tbsp. whole-grain mustard
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 c. blended oil, as needed
7 chives, chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

To make grilled artichokes: Preheat oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit. Using scissors, trim the spiny tip of each artichoke leaf, and trim stem close to base. Spread the leaves like a flower, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle olive oil between the leaves. Wrap each artichoke in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until artichokes are tender. Preheat grill to medium. Remove foil and slice each artichoke in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove the tough choke and reseason artichoke. Place each artichoke half flat side down on the grill and cook for 1 ½ minutes, until lightly charred.

To make citrus aioli: Combine lemon juice, orange juice, egg yolks, mustard and garlic in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. While processing, slowly add 1 ½ to 2 cups oil until mixture ­emulsifies. Stir in chives, salt and pepper. Serves 4 as an appetizer.

You’ll know you’ve added enough oil when the aioli has the consistency of a thin mayonnaise.
May and June are the best months for artichokes. Look for large, firm spheres with a purple tinge. Later in the summer, you’ll find cone-shaped artichokes, which are more expensive and not quite as good.
To eat, pull off an artichoke leaf, dip in aioli, and draw the base of the leaf between your teeth. Fight over the tender heart at the ­center of the ­vegetable.
To separate eggs quickly without a fancy kitchen gadget, crack egg into your hand and let the white pass through your fingers.
You can store baked, halved artichokes wrapped in foil in the refrigerator
for up to five days. Reheat the artichokes at 350˚ Fahrenheit for 15 to 20
minutes before grilling.
Chef Evan ­Turney uses ­buttery, fruit-filled Frantoia extra virgin olive oil for baking the artichokes, but chooses mild-mannered blended oil for the aioli, allowing the fresh citrus flavors to dominate. Look for blended oil at area Whole Foods.