AGGINARES SKARAS KAPPORI SALTSA
I'm a fan of artichoke hearts, but I like this cooking method better because nothing is wasted. When I first became a chef and saw the mountains of leaves tossed away while we cooked the artichoke hearts, I couldn't help but think of my mom and how she'd hate to see all those leaves go uneaten. With this recipe, not a bit of the artichoke is wasted. The smokey taste of the grill suits the rich, dense flavor of the artichokes, and the creamy dipping sauce, similar to a New Orleans-style rémoulade, gets an extra flavor kick from capers or sauce, Calabrian chilies, garlic, and lemon juice. I like my aioli spicy; you may want to add 1 teaspoon of the Calabrian chilies, taste the aioli, and see if you'd like more heat. If you like, make the aioli the day before, cover and refrigerate, and bring it to the table when the artichokes are done.
1. Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill.
2. To make the aioli, combine the egg yolks, garlic, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Process at medium-high speed to blend, then very slowly add the oil in a thin stream through the pouring tube while the machine is running. When the mixture has thickened, turn off the machine, add the chilies, capers, salt, and pepper, and pulse until well mixed. If the aioli is too thick, add a little water. Refrigerate while the artichokes are cooking.
3. Fill a stockpot halfway with water and add the 2 tablespoons salt and the lemon halves. Bring to a boil. Add the artichokes, cover, and cook for 35 minutes. When ready, a large leaf should come off easily when gently pulled. Drain and let cool.
4. Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise and scoop out the center choke (the fuzzy section and the purple leaves). Rub 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice on each side of the halved artichokes. Sprinkle all with the 2 teaspoons salt and the pepper. Place the artichokes on the grill, cut side down, and grill for 5 to 6 minutes. Flip and grill for 1 minute longer.
5. To serve, place the artichokes on individual plates. Spoon the aioli into small ramekins and give an individual serving to each guest, or set one big bowl of aioli on the table and let everyone dip in.