serves 4-6 as an appetizer
For the Steamed Artichokes
3 Ocean Mist Farms Artichokes (we used frost kissed)
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves, smashed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Saffron Aioli
Pinch of saffron threads
1 tablespoon lemon juice, warmed slightly
2 cloves garlic
Pinch of coarse salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 large egg yolks
1 cup olive oil
Prep the artichokes. Wash artichokes and let dry. Cut about an inch from top (non-stem end) with a serrated knife. Rub cut surface with half of one lemon to prevent from browning. Trim any leaves with thorns with kitchen shears.
Cut a bit off the stem (about 1/4 inch) and peel the rest with a vegetable peeler. Rub all over with lemon.
Fill a large dutch oven or pot with water, so it comes about an inch up the side. Add the juice from the leftover lemon half to the water, along with the remaining lemon (in slices). Add bay leaves, wine, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Set a steamer insert into the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, then add the artichokes stem side up to the pot. Cover and steam for about 20 minutes. If the leaves can be easily pulled from the base and the stem is fork tender, remove from heat. If not, cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.
While the artichokes cool, make the aioli. Place the saffron threads in a small bowl and add the warm lemon juice. Let bloom for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mash the garlic with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle. Add the mustard, cayenne pepper and egg yolks to the mashed garlic. Incorporate the saffron and lemon juice, then slowly add half the oil. Once you have created an emulsion, add the remaining oil. If the mixture is too thick, you can thin it with a bit of lemon juice or water, one teaspoon at a time.
Cut the stems from the cooked artichokes so they can sit flat on a platter. Add artichokes and reserved stems to a platter with the prepared saffron aioli. Dip the artichoke leaves, stem and heart into the aioli and enjoy!