This recipe was inspired by artichokes that we ate in Sitges, Spain at La Nova Estrella, an incredible tapas bar situated in a gorgeous, unpretentious beach town. They had us ordering plate after plate of their delectable treats, including the standout - Peppers from Padron, small, green, out-of-this-world peppers (that we can't seem to find in this country) roasted and dusted with coarse salt. One of the cooks came out of the kitchen and took the table next to ours. She was eating small, blackened artichokes that weren't on the menu. When we asked our friendly waiter for some, he obliged and we transcended to a new culinary high. I believe we have done a pretty good job at re-creating the experience here.
4 artichokes, small, but not babies
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Drop artichokes into boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 7-10 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice. Toss parboiled artichokes into oil mixture and toss well, so that mixture has a chance to get between the leaves of the artichokes. (This step can be done 4 hours ahead.)
Prepare a charcoal grill. When grill is hot, very carefully (standing back and reaching at arm's length) dump artichokes and oil mixture onto grill. It will flame up, which is exactly the effect you want to achieve. If necessary, add a little oil to the fire in order to flame the artichokes. Turn occasionally, cooking for about 10 minutes, until chokes are tender and blackened.
Serve as is. No need for butter, mayonnaise or sauce. They're simply superb all on their own.