last weekend i went to the downtown farmer’s market to pick up an order i had placed with a very special company here in town called dai due. they take locally sourced products and run with with them, such as making chorizo from richardson farms pork and preserved lemons from local meyer lemons, which are the 2 products i had pre-ordered. the folks are very kind and informal, my two favorite traits for a business. while i was there, i decided to take a quick scan to see if i could find some (rumored) local artichokes. i did and they were beauties. not too big, not too small and extremely fresh. i bought a bag full of them. this is the time of year when my ‘california is showing’; beautiful produce starts showing up for farm-to market meals, warm days with cool nights rule, incredible flora everywhere (thanks, ladybird johnson). sometimes i tell my husband that his ‘oklahoma is showing’, but it’s usually not meant to be nice.
the first night i just steamed one up and we dipped the ancient-looking leaves into a creamy mustard sauce i had leftover from a pork tenderloin the night before. the next day i went poking around for some fresh new ways to prepare my thorny friends and came across a grilling technique that sounded enticing, yet simple. then, the search continued for a new condiment to enjoy along side. i found it in a meyer lemon aioli from molly wizenberg, remembering that i had those preserved lemons waiting on me.
an aioli is basically a homemade mayonnaise preparation enhanced by the addition of garlic and in this case, meyer lemon. i had everything else i needed on hand. i’ve made homemade mayonnaise before but have always cheated, meaning i used a blender. i decided to try my hand at whisking under my own power. my arm almost fell off, but it was worth it. plus, you can stop and rest as needed without any penalty done to the final product.
instead of adding lemon zest at the end, i finely chopped some of the preserved meyer lemon peel.
grilled artichokes (1 per person if they are small)
adapted from bon appetit
4 small to medium artichokes
a few lemons
good quality olive oil
prepare artichokes: cut stem of artichokes to 1 inch. cut off about 1/4 to 1/3 off the top off the artichoke, remove thick outer leaves and snip of thorny points to remaining leaves. cut artichokes in half lengthwise (or quarters if using large ones), rub cut sides of artichokes with lemon juice and place in a large bowl of aciduated water (squeeze a few lemon halves into the water). steam artichoke halves in about an inch of water for 20-30 minutes, until tender when you pierce heart with a sharp knife.
remove from pot and allow to cool slightly. remove choke from center of artichoke. i find a grapefruit spoon makes easy work of this chore. drizzle olive oil on artichokes and place on preheated and very hot grill. the artichoke is cooked, you are really just searing it to give it flavor. turn every few minutes until you have grill marks on all side of artichoke pieces. you can serve these warm or at room temperature with meyer lemon aioli.
meyer lemon aioli (makes 3/4 cup-enough for about 4 artichokes)
adapted from orangette
1 medium garlic clove
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp meyer lemon juice
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
zest of 1 meyer lemon (i chopped up 2 slices preserved meyer lemon from dai due)
mince garlic clove, add a pinch of salt to mince, and mash garlic into a paste with the side of the knife.
in a medium bowl, add garlic and next 5 ingredients, through salt, whisk for about 30 seconds until mixture is well blended.
start adding the oil, a few drops at a time while whisking constantly until you arm just about falls off, taking breaks as needed. add at least the first 1/4 cup of oil this way. after that point, you can add the remaining 1/2 cup in a continuous stream, while whisk continuously, making sure the oil is well-incorporated as you go.
this is really a labor of love and the mixture will thicken as you go, rewarding you with the most beautiful and silky homemade mayonnaise you have ever tasted. or bathed in.
if you enjoy farm-to-market meals (and really who doesn’t?) check out these other let’s lunch posts:
cowgirl chef–scrambled eggs with roasted asparagus and potatoes