Photo: Emma Alter
My daughter has never been a big fan of asparagus, but when I cooked it on the grill last week, she changed her mind. So this past weekend, when her best friend Julia joined us at the cottage, I grilled some more asparagus. Julia, who loves it, was surprised by the taste.Her mother always steams it and adds a bit of butter or olive oil and she'd never tasted it any other way. Grilling it gives the asparagus a more intense flavour and it crisps up a bit, which gives it a pleasing texture.
Once you have grilled it, you can add any kind of sauce to add flavour, such as a vinaigrette, butter and lemon, or dip it into an aioli. If you don't have a grill, you can replicate this by roasting the asparagus at 450F for eight minutes or so. I've seen recipes that tell you to steam or blanch the asparagus first, but that is totally unnecessary and just uses more pots, and who needs that? I drizzled them with a bit of olive oil and put them straight onto the grill. They take about 6 -10 minutes, depending on thickness, and you should turn them fairly often to keep them from burning. Then just remove them from the grill and add whatever seasoning you are using. You can serve either of these dishes hot, or room temperature.
Both of these sauces are extremely easy and delicious and it really just depends on which flavour you are in the mood for, a more Mediterranean taste, or an asian inspired taste.
This recipe is from Williams Sonoma: Cooking from the Farmers' Market.
Grilled Asparagus with Rosemary Oil and Parmesan
1/2 tsp chopped rosemary
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt to taste
1 -2 lbs asparagus, woody ends removed
1/4 cup grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
1. In a small bowl, mix together the chopped rosemary, olive oil and salt. Cover and let sit for at least an hour.
2. Put the asparagus onto a plate or baking sheet and drizzle with the rosemary oil. Place on a hot grill and cook until tender, about 6 minutes, turning often.
3. Remove from grill and sprinkle with cheese.
This recipe is from Canadian Living: The Barbecue Collection by Andrew Chase.
Asian Style Grilled Asparagus
1 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce.
1. On a plate or a baking sheet place asparagus and drizzle with peanut oil. Place on a hot grill and cook until tender, about 6 minutes, turning often.
2. Remove from grill and toss with soy sauce, sesame oil and hot pepper sauce.