Asparagus is one of the vegetables that some people either love or hate. The most common reason for hating it is that it has been overcooked. Cooking any green vegetable too long, particularly in water, will make it soggy in texture and ruin the flavor.
Drier methods of cooking, however, enhance flavor rather than draw it away from the food. Roasting, pan roasting, broiling, and barbecuing all bring out flavors in vegetables that were previously unnoticeable to many. Barbecuing vegetables in particular adds a smokey, slightly charred flavor that can bring out the hidde sweetness in many vegetables. Think for a moment of the flavor of a grilled onion as opposed to a boiled one.
Please note that asparagus can easily slip between the wires of a barbecue. It is necessary to use a grill basket to keep it from doing this. (This is not a product endorsement, just an example.) Also, grilled asparagus cooks in seconds, so please watch it closely.
Marinated and grilled asparagus recipe
- 1 bunch of fresh asparagus
- 2 Tbs. dark olive oil
- 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar or vinegar of your choice
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
Directions: Wash asparagus and allow to drain on a clean kitchen towel. Measure approximately six inches from the tips of asparagus stalks and cut off stalks below that. (You can save these in your freeze to use in the winter for vegetable stock.) Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin from the remaining stalk from about an inch below the tip to the cut end.
Place the asparagus in a sealable plastic bag. Mix the oil and vinegar together and pour into the bag with the asparagus. Marinade for about 20 minutes. Drain asparagus on clean towel. Place the asparagus in the grill basket and place on barbecue. Depending on how hot the fire is, the asparagus can take anything from 30 seconds to a minute per side to cook. If you are not planning to barbecue, you can roast the asparagus in the oven at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Plate asparagus on a small serving platter and add freshly ground black pepper to taste. You may also serve with fresh lemon wedges or mayonnaise if desired.
The ingredients for this recipe can be found in most Long Beach grocery stores. Trader Joe’s has an excellent balsamic vinegar. The local Ralph’s, Albertson’s, and Fresh & Easy all have asparagus available at a reasonable price. For organic asparagus, the best places to look are Bristol Farms and Whole Foods.
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Link to license for photograph of asparagus