I think that maybe I had grilling withdrawal. With a measly little half-porch back in Birmingham, our little black grill sat, neglected, for more than a year in the shed. Under its dust-covered gray sheath, it looked forlorn and forgotten. I wanted to give it love, but we just didn’t want to be those people grilling in the front driveway.
But now…now we have a fabulous deck and a private, green, lush backyard where we love to spend time. We took the grill out of hibernation, scrubbed it up, and it’s good as new. We had one grilled meal, then another, and another. It’s all I can do to not plan every dinner to be cooked out there. So, in short, I think I had grilling withdrawal, and now I’m overcompensating.
Anyway. One of Jason’s and my favorite things are these grilled artichokes from Houston’s. Thought I’m not usually one for chain eateries, I quite enjoy Houston’s…and the grilled artichokes are to-die-for good. I could eat them every day. They’re smoky, crisp, buttery, perfect. They’re also super simple…no fancy spices, no complicated cooking process. So I set about re-creating them last night.
Just a few minutes on the stove and a few more on a hot grill, and you have the best artichokes ever. (Try them, you’ll see.) Even though I could have eaten just the artichokes for dinner, dipped in creamy herb sauce, they were perfect paired with garlicky chicken thighs also charred and crisped on the grill.
p.s. The artichokes were less than beautiful at my grocery store, but I got them anyway. When you’re shopping for them, look for ones with long stems, tightly closed leaves (unlike the ones shown above), and ones that feel big for their size.
serves 2 as a side
I cut these in half, but I think they’ll be better quartered next time, maximizing the surface area that touches the hot grill.
2 fresh artichokes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Hefty pinch coarse salt
2 tablespoons light or regular mayo
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh chopped herbs (such as dill, parsley, and/or mint)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Pinch coarse salt
Few grinds black pepper
Peel the bottom, tough leaves off of artichokes. Cut top 1/3 off with a large, sharp knife. Peel stems with a vegetable peeler. Snip prickly tops off of leaves. Place both artichokes in a large stockpot of boiling water; cover pot. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the base of the artichokes (not the stem, the base of the leaves) is easily pierced with a knife.
Drain, and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, Cut artichokes in half. Scoop out the fuzzy hairs in the artichoke, and discard. Cut again into quarters. Brush the artichokes with the oil, and sprinkle with salt. Place artichokes on a preheated hot grill. Grill until charred in places and golden brown everywhere else. Eat immediately, or at room temperature.
To make the dip, combine mayo, Dijon, herbs, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Whisk with a fork to combine. Serve with artichokes.
Grilled Garlicky Chicken
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
In a shallow dish that can hold all of the chicken, combine garlic, lime zest, oil, and salt. Whisk with a fork to combine. Put chicken thighs in pan, turning to coat completely. Make sure the garlic and zest are on the chicken, not scattered around the dish!
Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. Bring to room temperature before grilling. Prepare your grill with a hot side and a low-heat side (scatter 1/4 of the hot coals on one side, and leave the rest piled on the other side). Grill chicken over the hot coals for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. If it’s looking too charred before it’s done, finish cooking on the cooler side. Serve immediately.
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