These are so simple and so special. Put an artichoke half on a plate in front of your guests and it screams “dinner party,” even if your wardrobe for said dinner party screams “in my pajamas.” You may have cooked artichokes whole in the past, but slicing them down the middle helps them cook fast and tender. Serve them with my delicious aïoli and, if you can find it, a sprinkling of ground sumac, a tangy Middle Eastern spice.Tip: To clean the artichoke halves, cut out the fuzzy hairy “choke” but make sure to leave the creamy white heart underneath intact, since this is the prize after you're done scraping every individual leaf clean of its delicious tasty veggie meat.
ground sumac (a tangy Middle Eastern spice; optional)
Heat the oil in a large-ish pot (5 or 6 quarts) over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the water and vermouth, then juice the lemons right into the pot and throw the juiced lemons into the pot.
Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, add the artichokes to the pot, cover, and simmer until the artichokes are tender and a leaf pulls away easily, 25 to 30 minutes.
Drain, cool slightly, then serve the artichokes with a dollop of aioli and a little sumac sprinkled on top.