Slow Cooker Baby Artichokes with Lemon-Asiago Aioli

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I have always loved artichokes, but it wasn’t until recently that I experienced eating a whole artichoke. It was one of many small plates that my roommates and I indulged in at Vernick, and it was divine. It never dawned on me to attempt to create a similar dish until baby artichokes caught my eye at Whole Foods the other day (mostly because they’re so cute!). While I’ve only seen whole artichokes on menus a handful of times, regardless of the restaurant, they have been prepared either on the grill or steamed. However, to avoid any of the guess work that goes into ensuring that the artichokes turn out perfectly tender, I opted for the slow cooker instead.

Once cooked, these guys are intense with flavor and make for a unique, relatively healthy appetizer that will wow your guests. To eat, simply remove a leaf from the artichoke, dip the meaty portion of the leaf into the aioli, and scrape off the meaty portion with your teeth. Discard the remaining leaf. As you work your way toward the centermost leaves, the leaves will be tender enough that you can eat them in their entirety.

PART 1: THE ARTICHOKES

What you’ll need:

  • 12 baby artichokes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Cracked black pepper and Himalayan salt to taste

What you’ll do:

  • Rinse the artichokes thoroughly; prep by cutting of the stems, as well as about 1/2 an inch off the tops (for full-sized artichokes, cut about 1 inch)
  • Arrange the artichokes in the bottom of a slow cooker
  • Combine the broth, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, and salt in a food processor; pour over the artichokes
  • Cook on high for 2 hours (for full-sized artichokes, cook 3 hours)
  • When finished, arrange on a serving dish

PART 2: THE AIOLI

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil mayo
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup asiago, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp. Italian herb blend
  • Cracked black pepper and Himalayan salt to taste

What you’ll do:

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor; blend until smooth
  • Pour into a small serving bowl

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