Thu Mar 15, 2018
I like to schedule my posts a couple months in advance, and back in January I thought by mid-March things would be warming up (at least here in Durham), I'd be feeling the desire to switch from orange to green veggies, and asparagus season would not be long off. As I'm sitting down to actually write the post a couple days before it goes live, I'm both watching a winter storm unfold outside of my window and will soon be venturing to the kitchen to cook burgers and roasted carrots for dinner—not quite the picture of a coming spring I imagined a couple months ago. So this post is more aspirational than realistic, but when that fresh, inexpensive asparagus starts to hit the markets soon, at least you'll be armed with this recipe to do it up right.
I personally really love grilling asparagus. To me, high heat application is best way to bring out this vegetable's full flavor potential with the ideal crisp-tender consistancy, and a live fire only adds to the overall excellence. Showcasing the vegetable's natural flavor alone is usually all I'm after, which leaves my prep to consist of nothing more than tossing in oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.
I feel like asparagus isn't often thought of for the grill though, which is shame. I think a lot that perception lays in the fact that its long and slender shape looks ill equipped for grill grates that have very welcoming slots for the stalks to slip through. But if you just change your perception, and literal position, ninety degrees, it's really hard for long asparagus to fall through if they're just situated perpendicular to to grates.
And because the combo of direct and very heat, asparagus cooks in no time on the grill, or at least even faster than in the oven. To me, this makes the veggie an ideal choice to quickly cook up while steaks or other meats are resting, or just when I want something fast and simple, which is often.
On any given day, this is where my asparagus recipe would end, but I decided to make this batch a bit more special using lemon and parmesan. Right after removing the stalks from the grill and plating, I squeezed on some fresh lemon juice and then lest the asparagus sit until cooled slightly. The reason for the rest lay in my plan to finish this side dish with a generous coating of grated parmesan, but wanted to cheese to be in its raw state, so needed to avoid the threat of melting that's presented by a piping hot veggie.
Luckily, asparagus is just as good warm as it is hot, and thanks to the added parmesan, the short wait was well worth it. The sharp, salty, and savory qualities of the cheese added a lot of complexity to the well seasoned asparagus that already had a boost of freshness from the lemon and extra depth of flavor from the light char produced from grilling. It's really not much of a recipe, but it's damn effective and a great gateway into Spring, whenever that arrives...
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon and Parmesan
- Prep Time:
- 5 Minutes
- Cook Time:
- 5 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 10 Minutes
- 3-4 servings as a side
- 1lb asparagus, tough ends removed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon, quartered
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place asparagus on a shallow plate or dish, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently toss asparagus to thoroughly and evenly coat in oil and seasoning.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place asparagus on grill, perpendicular to the grates, and cook until tender and lightly charred, about 5 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Transfer asparagus to a serving platter and squeeze on a quarter slice of lemon juice. Let asparagus rest for 2-5 minutes to cool slightly. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese. Serve immediately with additional lemon slices.