Houston's Restaurant is one of our favorite dining places in Atlanta. I often use Houston's as a bribe to entice Kenny into a shopping trip to Lenox. I thought we had tried everything on the menu until our last visit. While sitting at the bar waiting on friends, enjoying one of their delicious Salty Dogs made with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, the bartender told us about his favorite appetizer, Grilled Artichokes. Grilled Artichokes? How had we missed them? It seems that are a special menu item, only available when artichokes are in season. And yes, they were on the day's menu and on our table.
Wow, were they good. But how did they create this tasty treat? After questioning our waitress and a search of the Internet, we now have a pretty good duplication of the recipe. Artichokes can be a pricey item, but 2 artichokes - $2.50 each - were a generous serving for 6-8. These tasty thistles barely made it off the grill before being devoured. I served them with basil mayonnaise for dipping, but to be honest, they needed nothing to enhance the flavor. Grilled artichokes will be a regular addition to our menu.
1/2 cup extra virgin 0live oil
4 clove garlic, finely chopped
Fill a large bowl with cold water and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon into the water. Wash the artichokes and break off the tough outer leaves. Trim the remaining tips and cut in half. Toss into the lemon water, making sure they are submerged in water.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add the artichokes and cook for 15 minutes. The artichokes should be tender. Remove the chokes (the fuzzy stuff in the middle of the artichoke) and drain thoroughly. Chill for 1 hour.
Combine the juice from one lemon, olive oil and garlic.
Preheat the grill and oil the grill rack. Baste the artichokes with the oil mixture on both side and place on the hot grill. Grill on both sides about 5 minutes or until brown. Serve hot with basil mayonnaise or a lemon aioli. Serves 6 - 8.