I grill outside all year ’round, and I often grill asparagus. My preparation is simple: I break the ends off the asparagus at the point at which they snap easily, put the asparagus in a casserole dish, drizzle it with olive oil, shake on some Montreal Steak seasoning, and roll the spears around a bit to coat the spears evenly. Then put them all on the grill directly over hot coals. I put the asparagus spears perpendicular to the grill bars, of course, so that they don’t fall through (usually) and so that I can just roll them over a quarter turn to cook the spears on all sides. This only takes a few minutes. And it’s good.
When we were in Belgium this Spring, I came across asparagus with eggs, and they were really good. They use very thick asparagus spears, and in addition to cutting (or, as I prefer, snapping) the ends off, they peel the bottom portion of each spear. It looks nice. Elegant. Frank Stitt’s Southern Table cookbook has a recipe:
16 jumbo asparagus spears, tough ends cut (or snapped) off and the bottom half peeled
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup vinaigrette*
1/3 cup coarsely chopped chives, flat-leaf parsley, tarragon and/or chervil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil for brushing.
Blanch the asparagus in salted water for four minutes, then drain and blot with a towel. As they dry, combine the eggs, vinaigrette, and all but 1 tablespoon of the herbs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Brush the hot grill with olive oil, place the asparagus spears on the grill and brush them with olive oil. Grill them, turning occasionally, for about 4 minutes.
Divide the asparagus among serving plates, and spoon a fat ribbon of the vinaigrette/egg mixture over each plate of asparagus, and then sprinkle with the remaining herbs.
*I’m lazy, so I would just use Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing. For this recipe, Frank Stitt uses a sherry vinaigrette that includes,
1/2 shallot finely minced
4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
Kosher salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
And rather than just stir it, he mixes the first four ingredients together, lets it macerate for 10 minutes, then whisks the olive oil in, pouring it in a slow, steady stream. Then he tastes it and adjusts the seasoning. Now I’m sure that works a lot better than Newman’s Own, but how am I supposed to do that while enjoying a beverage and making sure everyone else has what they need?
OK, I could prepare the dressing in advance. And refrigerate it up to 5 days.