There is something incredibly fun about pulling the leaves off steamed artichokes, dipping them in rich sauce and then scraping the delicate, meaty core. In my opinion, this is the ultimate conversation-food appetizer.
In a small bowl, whisk together minced garlic, paprika, a pinch of salt, chili powder (if using), mayonnaise and the juice of 1 lemon. Set aside.
Cut the remaining lemon in half. Squeeze the juice into the Instant Pot and add the squeezed halves. Add garlic cloves, parsley sprigs, bay leaf, the remaining salt, pepper, water and vinegar. Place the steam rack in the pot. Place artichokes, bottom side up, on the rack.
Close and lock the lid and turn the steam release handle to Sealing. Press Steam and adjust the time to 6 minutes.
When the timer beeps, press Cancel and turn the steam release handle to Venting. When the float valve drops down, remove the lid. Check to make sure a knife inserted in the base of the artichokes encounters no resistance and the leaves pull easily from the base. (If more cooking is needed, continue steaming on High for 1 minute)
Transfer artichokes to a serving platter, stem side down. Serve with aïoli for dipping the leaves as you pull them off the artichoke. When you reach the center of the artichoke, scrape away and discard the prickly fuzz covering the heart. Cut the heart into sections for dipping.
How to Trim Artichokes: To prepare the artichokes for steaming, cut off the stem and 1-½ inches of the top. Using scissors, cut the sharp tips from the tops of the leaves. Remove any small, tough outer leaves near the base. You may want to rub the cut surfaces with lemon as you are cutting to prevent browning. Rinse artichokes well.The aioli can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before serving.