Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription LLC
Artichokes en Papillote with Caper Aioli
For the longest time I abandoned big tender artichokes to avoid their traditional buttery and oily dips. But no more! This vegan and low-fat aioli is a phenomenal alternative and I’m back to savoring these gorgeous, nutritious thistles now more than ever! While many might serve these artichokes as a first course or side dish, I confess I’ve made a dinner of them too, very happily.
I cook the artichokes in parchment, steaming and roasting them in their own flavorful juices, which renders them soft and flavorful without drying out. The chokes are easy to remove afterwards. A simple rich-tasting, garlicy aioli, balanced by briny petite nonpareil capers, makes a delicious, healthy dipping sauce. Artichokes pack a nutritional punch: They’re loaded with fiber, have negligible calories, and are a great source of vitamin C, magnesium, and calcium. Choose artichokes with their tasty stems attached, the longer the better. Look for globes that are heavy, firm, and “squeak” when pressed for optimal freshness and flavor.
Hint: Enjoy this aioli recipe over steamed or blanched vegetables and anywhere you would use mayo.
Prep time 30 minutes to roast garlic plus 20 minutes
Bake time 1 hour
4 globe artichokes, cut in half lengthwise
8 ounces silken tofu, drained
3/4 head garlic, roasted intact then peeled, or use the entire head if you prefer
1 teaspoon granulated or powdered onion
1 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kala namak (Indian black salt)
Pinch freshly ground white pepper
5 tablespoons nonpareil capers, drained
Preheat oven to 375°F. To roast the garlic, peel off the loose papery outer skins of the garlic head. Bake whole in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the garlic is soft. Cool. Peel three-quarters of the cloves and set aside. Reserve the rest for another use. Increase the oven temp to 400°F.
Using a serrated knife (I favor a cleaver and dead blow hammer), cut the artichokes in half lengthwise, leaving the stems attached. To make your parchment bag, tear off a large piece of parchment paper, double the length of your pan plus two inches. Fold the parchment in half and reopen. Lay each half artichoke, face down, on the lower half of the parchment. Fold the upper half over them. Fold the cut edge over several times and staple every few inches to seal. Fold and staple the remaining two open sides. Transfer to a cookie sheet and place on the middle oven rack. Bake for one hour. Remove from the oven. Cut open the parchment and remove the artichokes. Use a spoon to remove only the hairy choke, leaving as much of the delicious heart as possible.
As the artichokes bake, make the aioli. Add the tofu, roasted garlic cloves, granulated onion, vinegar, mustard, kala namak, and pepper to a high-speed blender. Run on high for a minute to blend into a dense smooth sauce. Taste to correct the amount of garlic or seasonings as you like. Transfer to a container, stir in the capers, and refrigerate until use.
Serve the artichokes warm with the aioli at room temp, filling the artichoke cavities with aioli or serving it on the side.
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