June 18, 2004
Grilled Spears

spears.jpg

Sometimes a recipe isn't so much a set of ingredients with instructions as it is just a really good idea. Grilled asparagus falls into this category. I've seen it in many cookbooks and on various sites (the Epicurious site, for example, has several variations) and after reading all the rave reviews decided this week to give it a try myself. In fact, I consulted the "recipe" in the Nigel Slater book (I think it was Real Good Food, imaginitive title, Nigel) which consisted of the following instructions: wash and trim the spears and brush them with olive oil. Put them on the grill. Turn them as they cook. Remove from grill when done and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan. And the result? Absolutely delicious. Our grill isn't especially even in its heating and so it took some manipulation to get them all cooked without having raw or burned bits, but in the end it was so worth the effort. They remain crunchy and have so much more flavour than steamed asparagus. The charred bits add to the general charm and I love the way just the right amount of parmesan sticks to their glistening bodies. I thought I would never find a better way to serve asparagus than steamed with a good hollandaise sauce, but I was wrong. God help me, I may have to reconsider my artichokes-must-be-steamed-and-served-with-lemon-butter rule!

Posted by Meg in Sussex at June 18, 2004 8:33 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version
Comments

We've been eating at a place near us that serves a grilled artichoke with butter, lemon, and pepper. They halve the artichoke, dig out the choke, and grill the rest. It's amazing, but you have to grill it longer than you think you should. The last one I had, one small blackened leaf near the base was still glowing red.

Posted by Barrett on June 18, 2004 at 9:23 AM

Meg, they look really yummy!! I (the pleb that I am) usually boil the babies and just put olive oil on them after that... I shall follow the great Meg's advice from now on!

Posted by Owen on June 18, 2004 at 9:36 AM

Barrett - I think if I can find some of the small Italian artichokes I may try grilling them. It does sound very good...especially as it still involves drizzling lemon butter over them when they are done!

Owen - I'll try to have you over to try them before the asparagus season is over! I have been wanting to try this for years, but the problem is that my grill pan is round, so I figured it would be awkward fitting the spears on it. On the grill, you get real flames and no space problems!

Posted by Meg in Paris on June 21, 2004 at 5:38 AM

If you do not have a grill pan, try making an asparagus-sized rectagular pan out of several sheets of foil. And if you are out of parmesan cheese, try a simple grinding of coarse sea salt and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds!
You can also par-boil artichokes before putting on the grill, they cook way faster. Brush with olive oil before grilling.

Posted by Rebecca in Tucson on August 22, 2005 at 10:22 PM

After sprinkling the parmesan, try a splash of balsamic vinegar - yum!

Posted by Steph in New Zealand on October 31, 2005 at 4:38 PM

How about using one of those long-handles, 2-sided baskets that you can just flip over? Has anyone tried that? I have some with various sized woven wire...

Posted by Red on March 15, 2007 at 8:22 AM

How about using one of those long-handles, 2-sided baskets that you can just flip over? Has anyone tried that? I have some with various sized woven wire...

Posted by Red on March 15, 2007 at 8:31 AM
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