A good sauce brings flavor, texture, and a finishing touch to any dish. Grill your artichokes, then stir our Basil Pesto into simple mayonnaise for a tangy dipping sauce that’s more complex than the sum of its parts.
4 large globe artichokes
1 lemon, cut in half lengthwise
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup Armanino Pesto Sauce, plus additional for garnish
Prepare a large pot with 1-2” of water at the bottom and place a steamer rack in the pot.
Cut the lemon in half lengthwise. Use one half to rub the cut areas of the artichokes to prevent any browning from oxidation. Cut the other half into wedges and reserve for serving.
Cut off and discard the top ½ – 1” of each artichoke. With a pair of scissors, trim away the pointy part of each leaf.
Trim the stems to about 2” long and give them a couple swipes with a vegetable peeler to remove any tough fibers.
Cut the trimmed artichokes in half and with a strong metal spoon, scoop out the fuzzy chokes and the smaller inner artichoke leaves.
Rub lemon juice all over the inside and exposed cut areas of the artichokes to prevent oxidation and browning.
Bring the water in the prepared pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium high and place the artichoke halves, cut side down, on the steamer rack. Piling/stacking is fine as long as the lid fits tightly.
Cover and steam for 20 minutes (more or less, depending on the size of the artichokes), until the outer leaves can be easily pulled off, and the heart can be easily pierced with a knife. Cooking a little under is ok as they will cook further on the grill.
For the basil aioli, combine the mayonnaise and pesto together in a small bowl. Set aside. Can be made several days ahead and refrigerated until needed.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat. Brush the grill grate clean. Lightly oil a folded paper towel and, using tongs, carefully oil the grate.
Brush the steamed artichoke all over with oil and sprinkle with salt.
Place the artichoke halves cut-side-down on the preheated grill.
Cover and grill for 5 minutes, until there are nice grill marks then turn and grill, covered, another 5 minutes.
To serve, transfer the pesto aioli to a small serving bowl and garnish with an additional spoonful of pesto. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the grilled artichokes, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and arrange on a serving platter with the pesto aioli and lemon wedges. Can be served warm or room temperature.
An old fashioned grapefruit spoon, the type with the serrated teeth on the tip, works wonderfully to scoop out the fuzzy choke.
Lime juice also adds a nice flavor to the grilled artichokes and its acidity servers the same purpose in preventing oxidation.