My husband and I loved these. And that's saying something from a man who just a decade ago called artichokes "The fruit of the devil". He wouldn't touch them back then, watching him tear apart the artichokes last night trying to get to the delicate center leaves warmed my heart. Even the Monkey wanted to try the funny chips with the dip dip sauce, which is what my husband told him it was to get him to try them. His favorite part was throwing away the top of the leaf after scraping the tender flesh from the tips.
I love artichokes, love love love them. I did not have the smoked salt (a problem I intend to rectify when I hit the spice market in Montreal this week) so I used smoked paprika instead which the magazine mentions in the description but not in the ingredient list so I'm not sure if you're suppose to use both. I also used dried dill and my photo looks nothing like Mr. Blais' in Food and Wine but it still tasted good so who cares. I halved the recipe and it could easily have been enough dip for about 10 artichokes so I would stay away from the full cup prep unless you plan on feeding a small army, or a large family.
This is another great Summer dish. I see friends sitting around an outdoor table sipping a cocktail waiting for the main course to come off the grill while ripping the leaves off the artichokes and dipping them in between bits of gossip and catching up.
I didn't have a lot of photos which is a shame because they are so pretty and there was plenty of time for photo ops consider I screwed up this batch and they weren't cooked enough so we tossed them, and I tried again the next day and that one worked much better but I was too busy packing for our trip to take photos.... at least I don't think I took any it's all a blur. For round two I cut the tops off and trimmed the edges just like these. I then hacked off the stem and ripped off the bottom leaves and then inverted the artichoke so that the open end was pointing towards the water. Much better. My dear friend Kate eats these with butter and lemon. I think we'll do both next time as this mayonnaise dip is extrememly rich.... but ohhhhh so good.
Artichokes with Smoked-Herb Mayonnaise
Contributed by Richard Blais Food and Wine
4 large artichokes, stems trimmed
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chopped dill
2 tablespoons chopped capers
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
Freshly ground pepper
Set a steamer basket in a large pot over 1/2 inch of boiling water. Arrange the artichokes, stem side down, in the basket. Cover and steam over moderate heat until a knife easily pierces the stems, about 30 minutes. Transfer the artichokes to a platter.
In a bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, dill, capers, lemon zest and juice, salt and paprika. Add a few dashes of hot sauce and season the mayonnaise with pepper. Serve the artichokes warm or lightly chilled with the mayonnaise.