Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic Syrup

I have tried a few grilled veggies before, but mostly peppers, onions and green beans. But when I received a copy of Weber's Charcoal Grilling The Art of Cooking with Live Fire and saw this recipe for grilled asparagus, I figured I should give it a try. My wife and I have been wanting to try asparagus for some time and since BBQ does make everything better why not try cooking it on the grill? I'm glad we did, because it was delicious and the whole family loved it. The end result is a very delicious complex flavor of sweet and sour that really had my  tongue hungry for more.  I will be repeating this one and will likely be making a double batch since the little bundle of asparagus we bought was not enough for three people.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Grilling time: 4 to 6 minutes

1/2 cup inexpensive balsamic vinegar
2 pounds medium asparagus (40-50 spears), each about 1/2 inch thick at the stem end
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Prepare a two-zone fire for medium heat.
2. If you plan to do this next step on an indoor stove, turn on the fan in the stove's hod. The simmering vinegar creates a pungent aroma. In a small saucepan bring the vinegar to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat until a few bubbles are just  breaking through the surface. Cook at a slow simmer until about 1/4 cup of vinegar remains. As you get close to 1/4 cup, the vinegar will cling to the back of a spoon and it will coat the bottom of the sauce pan when you rock it back and fourth. The total cooking time will be roughly 10 minutes, but keep an eye on the vinegar. If it cooks to quickly or it reduces to much, it will turn bitter rather than sweet. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool to room temperature (the syrup will continue to thicken as it cools).
3. Remove and discard any tough, woody ends from the asparagus spears. Peel the ends of the asparagus, if desired. Lightly coat the asparagus with the oil. Season evenly with the salt and pepper. Brush the cooking grate clean. Lay the asparagus perpendicular to the bars on the cooking grate. Grill over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until lightly charred and crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes, rolling the spears a couple times and swapping their positions as needed for even cooking.
4. Arrange the asparagus on a platter or individual plates. If the syrup is stiff, wam it briefly over medium heat. Drizzle some of the syrup over the spears (you may not need all of it). Season with more salt, if desired. Server warm or at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings

As seen in Weber's Charcoal Grilling The Art of Cooking with Live Fire


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