IT WAS summertime when I first visited Kythera, and everybody I met told me that I had missed the island’s famous grilled artichokes, a dish made only in early spring, when the artichokes are very tender. When I finally had the chance to try them, I couldn’t believe how exquisite they were. Frequently served as an appetizer at an outdoor Easter lunch, these are easy to make and can be eaten warm or at room temperature.
Place about 1½ quarts cold water in a bowl and squeeze the juice from the lemons into it; set the lemon quarters aside. One at a time, cut off the stem of each artichoke, leaving only about 1 inch. Snap off the bottom three rows of leaves, rubbing the cut surfaces frequently with the lemon quarters, and cut off the tip of the artichoke. Halve the artichoke lengthwise and rub generously with the lemon quarters. Using a grapefruit spoon, remove the hairy chokes from the center of the artichoke. As you work, place the prepared artichokes in the lemon water.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill.
Drain the artichokes and dry with paper towels. Place them cut side down on a work surface and flatten with your hands. Brush generously on both sides with the oil. Thread 3 artichoke halves each onto 8 soaked bamboo or metal skewers. Grill 3 to 4 inches from the fire, turning once, for 4 minutes per side, or until thoroughly softened. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.
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