Asparagus is finally in season, and while it’s at its peak, we like to eat as much of it as possible. One of my favourite ways to cook asparagus is on the grill – thick stalks, especially, which are every bit as tasty as the pencil-thin ones.
The way to tell how woody an asparagus stalk is is to snap off the bottom end – only about an inch should naturally break off. If you snap off half the stalk, it’s not good. Also: steer clear of shrivelling stalks in the grocery store. When you get them home, trim their bottoms and stand the bunch up in a tall glass with an inch or two of water in the bottom – they should last well for about a week.
Grilled asparagus is fast, simple, and you can grill it in the extra space around your steaks or other meat as you cook it. Asparagus won’t fall through the barbecue grates – if they are straight, simply lay the stalks crosswise across them.
Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Reduction
If you can’t find bottled balsamic reduction, simply cook about 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan until reduced by half. If you like, serve this asparagus topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 lb.)
olive oil, for cooking
1-2 Tbsp. balsamic reduction
freshly ground black pepper
Snap the bottoms off the asparagus wherever they naturally break, and toss with enough olive oil to coat them lightly.
Preheat the grill to high. Toss the asparagus directly on the grill and cook, turning with tongs as needed, until they’re tender and charred to your liking on all sides. Transfer each stalk to a serving plate as they finish cooking.
Drizzle with balsamic reduction, sprinkle with pepper and serve. Serves 6.