An appetizer as delightfully messy as it’s sophisticated
People who grew up eating artichokes are lucky enough to know that they’re no big deal to cook. To those of us that didn’t, artichokes can be a bit intimidating. Their beautiful form alone seems to call for a complicated preparation technique. Then there’s the question of how you get at the pretty thing?
Well, wether you’re an artichoke connoisseur or this is your first foray into cooking the beautiful veggie, you’re going to love this recipe! It’s easy as can be and requires very few ingredients or cooking know-how.
Better yet, the rich and nutty flavor of artichoke makes it the perfect delivery vehicle for tart, smoked paprika infused aioli. Artichoke leaves are essentially like healthy chips! Once you get to the rich and meaty heart, pluck off the hairs, top with aioli and dig into the tasty reward.
To make a meal of it, serve with my delicious Citrus Infused Red Rock Cod (feat. Cumquat)!
Aside form being delicious, a good reason to enjoy artichokes when they’re in season is the many health benefits they promise. Artichokes, Have been found to help balance total cholesterol by reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, they can improve digestion, liver health, vascular health, cognitive function and so much more. Some of the nutrients responsible for these benefits include:
- Extremely high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients – many times higher than that of cooked broccoli or blueberries – providing significant cancer prevention.
- High in folic acid, which can improve fertility and prevent complications with childbirth.
- High in potassium, which can help improve blood pressure and reduce water retention.
- Provide close to 12% of RDV of vitamin K, which supports healthy cognitive function.
- Contain inulin, an important prebiotic which feeds healthy gut microflora.
- Contain cynarin, which supports healthy bile production.
- Contain lots of fiber, to keep your bowels moving!
Even more exciting, is that eating artichokes paired with fermented aioli, you’ll get even more mileage out of these incredible nutrients. When made from high quality pasture-raised eggs, the cholesterol, nutrients and probiotics in the aioli will make the benefits of artichokes more readily bio-available to your body.
Did you know aioli was a health-food? Well now you do! But it has to be real thing. You don’t have to ferment the aioli in order to get the many of benefits consuming the delicious combination of uncooked yolks, olive oil and lime juice. But the stuff in restaurants or in stores, when made with canola and other cheap ingredients is unfortunately not going to give you these benefits and is instead likely to be carcinogenic.
This is a very straightforward recipe, but the one thing I’ll emphasize again is to get good quality, farm fresh eggs at your farmer’s market. Make sure that they are fully pasture raised and only supplemented with organic feed or compost. If you live in Los Angeles, at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market seek out Rick’s Farm (near LA Funghi) or Anna’s Organic Farm – both have excellent eggs!
Serve them hot and if you don’t have access to aioli ingredients, just dip the petals in butter or for a vegan option make my Sensational Walnut Cilantro Dip!
If you’re unsure about the quality of your eggs, or can only get washed and refrigerated eggs, skip the fermentation. If you’re for any reason uncertain about fermentation, please consult your physician.
Fermenting the aioli only requires 10-12 hours, so make it a day in advance. Let the jar sit out overnight at roughly 70F then place in the fridge. If you’re making this the artichokes and aioli for dinner and want to both make & serve it all at the same time, you can eat the aioli fresh right after making it. But if you can plan ahead, fermented or not, it’s best after a couple hours of being chilled in the fridge.
Fermented aioli will keep 4-8 weeks. I’ve had some that remained edible for way longer than that, but if you don’t trust your nose, you’ll be safe with 2-3 weeks.
You can still ferment the aioli if the eggs come from a grocery store fridge, but be sure to do a taste test before dipping in. If something went wrong, the aioli won’t have that fresh tart taste of properly fermented foods. If you’re weary or have a compromised immune system play it safe and omit the fermentation process.