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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Grilled Asparagus

A few years ago, my wife and I attended a backyard grilling and barbecuing seminar hosted by our local gas equipment store.  The guest chef was John Henry Abercrombie from Houston Texas.  We enjoyed a several hour seminar showing how to cook with different types of grills and smokers and at the end of the seminar; we sampled the results of the day’s cooking: ribs, brisket, and chicken.

One of the things John Henry cooked which we enjoyed was grilled asparagus.  Before we left the store that day, we purchased a vegetable grill pan and some of John Henry’s seasoning and rubs.

Last night I thawed some seasoned steak to grill for dinner.  I was planning to have grill potatoes to accompany the steak but I also needed a vegetable.  I looked in the refrigerator and found the remains of the two bunches of asparagus I had purchased a few days before and used most of the asparagus for a dinner I made for friends.  I decided to have the remaining twelve spears of asparagus.  As I was already using the BBQ to grill the steak and potatoes, to also grill the asparagus.

The secret to grilling green vegetables like asparagus is to first blanch the vegetable before grilling.  The process of blanching turns the asparagus and nice deep green color and the asparagus retains the color while grilling.  If you don’t blanch the asparagus, they turn a sickly yellow green color and are not very appetizing.

The first thing that I did for the asparagus was to turn on our electric hot pot containing about six-cups of cold water.  While the water heated, I washed and trimmed the ends of the asparagus and placed the spears in a large pot.  When the water was hot, I poured it over the asparagus and let it sit in the pan.  I grabbed a skillet I was going to use for sautéed mushrooms and put a couple of handfuls of ice cubes in the pan then some cold water.  After the asparagus sat in the hot water for about four minutes, I transferred the asparagus to the pan with the ice water and let it sit until it was cold.  The asparagus now had a deep green color and is partially cooked.

I dug through our storage shed and found the vegetable pan and took it to the kitchen and gave it a good washing and then lightly oiled the inside of the pan.  During John Henry’s seminar, he recommends lightly oiling the asparagus and then sprinkling his cherry flavored seasoning on the spears.  In the past I have found that even with a light oiling, the spears end up very oily once they are cooked, I prefer to only oil the pan.

Once the steak was about finished cooking, I placed the vegetable grill pan in the BBQ, added the asparagus, and closed the lid.  I let the asparagus cook for about five minutes then took everything inside for dinner.

We had a great dinner of grilled steak, potato, sautéed mushrooms, and grilled asparagus.  The asparagus was still a deep green color and had a slightly smoky flavor from the grilling process.  I just wish that I had more asparagus to cook.  Next time I need to remember to sprinkle the asparagus with just a little salt and pepper before placing it in the BBQ to grill.

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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