Simple things done well. That is what I want in this season of spring produce. The sweetest strawberries, perfectly roasted asparagus, and fresh artichokes with leaves tightly snuggled together. All they needed was a simple steam with herbs and lemon and a delicately flavored aioli to drag the tender heart through after all the leaves have piled up, teeth marks down the center. I get caught up in the effort of being different with cooking and forget that it's the simple things that usually bring the most attention to good quality ingredients. 

I enjoy pouring over food magazines, reading some recipes that I may not ever make just because I am curious about technique and want to learn. I have a binder full of pages I've ripped out of recipes I want to try, very few which I've actually gotten to. I kept a page from the recent Bon Appetit with a header claiming "The Creamiest Aioli by Suzanne Goin" and along with the photo "World's Greatest Mayo." We can agree those are pretty bold claims alongside the name of a well-know and talented chef, so while I don't consider myself a frequent aioli maker, I needed to know if this bold, black type face was really the truth.  

In short, I loved it. It would really be delicious on a number of vegetables. I hesitate to validate the claim that it's the "best," as I've made aioli about three times, but it's pretty darn good. I may have strayed slightly from the recipe, but that's to be expected - it's a keeper.


Aioli adapted from Suzanne Goin in Bon Appetit

The original recipe suggests 1/4 c grapeseed oil and 1/4 c olive oil. While I am sure that makes for a more mild taste, I didn't have grapeseed, and found my adjustment below to be just fine. My addition of a spicy dijon and heavy hand with the citrus trumped any chance the olive oil had in taking over the flavor. Suzanne suggests to serve this on some poached salmon and that sounds incredible, maybe topped with a bunch of green herbs. 

I've had one bad go at homemade aioli and learned it's important to use a fresh, good quality egg. Anything less just doesn't get quite as creamy. If your mixture is greasy instead of fluffy, it is called "breaking." To fix it, start with a clean bowl, a new yolk and slowly drizzle in the broken aioli to the new bowl. 

1 large egg yolk

1 garlic clove, super finely minced

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

pinch of cayenne

fresh lemon juice (about 2-3 Tbsp. or to taste)

1-2 tsp. dijon mustard

fresh black pepper


2 artichokes

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

half a lemon

dried herbs of choice

Settle a large mixing bowl in the nest of a damp dishtowel to steady the bowl. Whisk the egg yolk, garlic, salt and 2 tsp. water in a metal bowl to blend well. It will start to get a bit foamy. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the oil, about a teaspoon at a time, until the sauce is thickened and emulsified. Whisk in the cayenne, lemon juice, dijon, and few pinches of pepper. Taste and alter as you prefer. Cover and keep the aioli in the fridge. 

Prepare the artichokes. Cut off most of the stem and prune away the bottom leaves. I like to snip the pokey edges off the leaves and chop off the upper quarter of the artichoke, this is optional. I like how it looks but it's by no means crucial. 

In a large pot, bring the broth to a gentle simmer. Squeeze in the lemon and toss it in the broth. Add a few generous pinches of some dried herbs, basil, herbs de provence, thyme etc. If I have white wine open, I'll put a splash in the broth as well. Put the artichokes in, stem up, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until a leaf easily pulls away from the stem. Time will vary by size of the artichoke. Serve warm with the aioli on the side.  

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Reader Comments (25)

Yum! Love the simplicity. You are so right about the goodness of food standing out when a dish isn't over complicated by ingredients and preparation. This is a perfect example of it. Excited to try this aioli!

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

swooning. seriously though, I'm gonna go eat the rest of this right now.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhugh

look at that little yolk. so eager to please. love this.

May 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkelsey

Cooking artichokes scare the hell out of me! I've never touched them in my own kitchen, although I've eaten it prepared by others. Perhaps, it is time to conquer my fear - to conquer the artichoke!

I just spent a couple of days in CA and man! do you guys have good artichokes! They grow in Washington too, but yours are better. I grew up eating them leaf by leaf dipped in mayonnaise mixed with lemon juice, so this post brought back good memories. I got a tip from a chef that if you add just a tablespoon or so of water to the yolk, you don't have to be so careful with adding the oil and there is very little danger of it breaking. Works for me!

May 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDana

yum- i'm going to try to make this dish this week. it looks incredible!

May 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlauren

Not a die hard fan of artichokes but once in a while specially during Spring .. I like to make it plan and simple, just how you did it!

May 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkankana

With a little frisee salad this is the perfect light, meatless spring meal for me. Great tip on using a fresh egg and will have to try Dana's tip. I've always eaten steamed artichokes with melted butter, cold mayo, or a balsamic vinaigrette.

May 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHealthy Living Val

I love your philosophy about food! I love this blog! Your pictures are incredible. I can't wait to make this recipe for dinner tonight!

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarissa

I just stumbled on your blog via a Kitchn link. Really nicely done!

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

I honestly don't know if I've ever had a fresh artichoke. Looks like I've been missing out!

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCookie and Kate

As usual, beautiful photography and delicious recipe! Thank you for being so inspiring and for making healthy food so approachable and scrumptious! Can't wait for the next post!

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSlothCat

This is it... this is my heaven. Artichokes, aioli. Done.

I just moved to Spain, last time when I went down to outdoor, huge veggie market I saw so nice artichokes! But as a beginner- level-cook I don't know what to do with them. Now I know! Thanks. It looks simple and it's probably tasty. I will try to make it your way.

May 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAleksandra

I've always wanted to try cooking with fresh artichokes and after reading this I'm definitely going to have a go!

May 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah @ Spicy Buddha

Love the steam ascending off those confident artichokes.

May 14, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkale

Wow! I can't wait to try this recipe! Loving your blog. :)

I haven't eaten a simple steamed artichoke in so long. Time for this to change. Thanks!

These sound fabulous. I love this idea!

Just made the garlic aioli and used it on roasted cauliflower. In a word...divine : )

May 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Wow, perfect timing for me! I came across a crate of artichokes at the market the other day and passed on grabbing some because I didn't have new ideas on how to prepare them. This looks amazing! Thanks!
And the pictures look great too :)

May 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I adore this, so simple and perfect. Takes me back to Italy. Have never cooked artichokes myself though, must change that. lovely.
Heidi xo

May 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

Beautiful presentation of the simple, yet impressive artichoke. When they are in season, you'll find a pile of them in my frig, and I love them served just as you have here.

June 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristi Rimkus

Just two weeks ago, I had my first experience with artichokes served like this. I loved it, especially the fact that it took sooo long to finish one. The time you spend talking and dipping and laughing between each new leave makes this dish

June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaja

I did it! My first aioli and my sauce did not break! thanks for the great instructions!

September 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGiant Appetite

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