Simple yet different; the aioli has a tangy, moreish sweetness which is enhanced by the artichokes. This summery starter is perfect for vegans as the aioli is totally plant based – the secret is to use cashew nuts rather than eggs. Strictly speaking it’s more of a dip than aioli as I haven’t used any oil – the juice of a grapefruit is sufficient to give it the right consistency.
You can make the aioli and decant into dipping pots the day before. Sprinkle with chives and arrange some good quality, ready-prepared globe artichokes (I love the chargrilled deli-type tubs from Waitrose). If you prefer to prepare your own then do please let me know how you’ve nailed it!
Don’t feel you have to limit yourself to artichokes here – this dip works with all manner of vegetables. I love it with lightly cooked chunks of fennel and it’s also good as a sauce for Beetroot, Halloumi & Fennel Kebabs – the minty marinade works well with the sweetness of the grapefruit and smoked paprika.
You will need a food processor for this recipe as it involves pulverising the nuts up to a paste.
Ingredients (serves 4-5 as a starter)
3-4 garlic cloves – peeled
Good pinch of salt
Juice of half a pink grapefruit
1/3 teaspoon smoked paprika
Chives to garnish
A couple of tubs (350-400g) of ready prepared globe artichokes
- Tip the cashews into the food processor and whizz up for a good few minutes. Keep going after the powdery stage – you are aiming for nut butter. You may have to use a spatula to scrape the paste down from the sides a couple of times.
- Once you have a ball of sticky mashed cashews, stop the food processor, push the mixture back onto the blade and add the salt and garlic.
- Switch the blender on for another minute or so to crush the garlic and then pour in the grapefruit juice and the smoked paprika. Give the aioli a final mix before tasting. Adjust for salt/acidity etc.
- This dip can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days and garnished with chives just before serving.
Artichokes are often hard to pair with wine as they give the illusion of sweetness (try it with water!). As such, a zingy white – such as Sauvignon Blanc – is usually a good bet. Here, however, I have paired them with a relatively acidic sauce to balance out the flavours so would suggest something bolder like a fruity rosé such as Lebanon’s Massaya Rose from Glug or The Ned’s Pinot Rose, available nationwide from Majestic.