A shout-out to the artichokes tumbling out of their crates in the markets right now. I associate them with sunny French lunches or Mediterranean salads, but there are so many around in the UK this summer.
I like the thoughtfulness of eating them whole, a ritual in each leaf as you peel it back, dunk in a rich spicy aioli and drag your teeth across it to rake at the tender flesh. It always feels like summer to watch the pile of discarded petals grow, seeing all the textures and colours change and soften until you reach the hairy choke (inedible) and the meaty heart (very, very edible).
A small amount of ‘nduja beaten into the aioli elevates this simple dish, punching through the richness.
But also - this aioli is a bit of a fix-all. Dip your chips, slather your chickens, pop it in a sandwich with crunchy lettuce - whatever floats your boat.
Enough for a small jar, which will keep in the fridge for 3 days.
2 egg yolks
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp English mustard
1 fat clove of garlic
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp ‘nduja
For the aioli:
Blitz everything with a hand blender in a jar apart from the oil and the ‘nduja.
Gradually add the oil in a stream, continuing to blend.
When it reaches the consistency of mayonnaise, blend in the ‘nduja.
For the artichoke:
Using a serrated knife, cut the top half inch off the artichoke.
Cut the stalk to about an inch long.
Place upright in a steaming basket, cover and steam for 20 minutes.