I adore asparagus! When it's newly harvested, I can eat an entire bundle without ever considering what to "make" with it. When I do think about preparation, grilling is my all-time favorite method... and grilled over charcoal, even better!
You can still enjoy this vibrant vegetable during most of the year, although it may not be quite as sweet. According to Harold McGee, world-renowned authority on the chemistry of foods and cooking and author of On Food and Cooking The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, "Once harvested, the actively growing shoot continues to consume its sugars, and does so more rapidly than any other common vegetable. Its flavor flattens out; it loses its juiciness, and it becomes increasingly fibrous from the base up". Good ol' McGee also gives us a way to slow this process down. More on that in a minute.
Nutritionally, asparagus is a powerhouse. I wrote about that HERE. This dish is so easy to make and can be ready to serve in minutes. The cashews in the dressing require a two hour soak, unless you have a super high-speed blender. Otherwise, it's ready in no time!
Here's what McGee says about mitigating moisture and sugar losses from harvested asparagus: Soak the spears in a solution of sugar and water, 1-2 tsp of sugar per half cup of water. I recommend doing this as soon as you bring the asparagus home and at least 30 minutes before you plan to eat the asparagus. I found 1 tsp of sugar dissolved in one cup of water to be plenty.
Where I stayed this spring, the kitchen was equipped with an older model stove that included an indoor grill with an exhaust fan... of course I had to test it out!
Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes Prep Time: 5 minutes, plus 2 hours to soak cashews Grill Time: 5-6 minutes
1. Start by making the dressing. You can find the recipe HERE, or use a favorite dressing of your own.
2. If using a charcoal grill, get it started before prepping the asparagus.
3. Once the dressing is made, wash and trim the asparagus. To determine where the asparagus stalks should be trimmed, take one spear and bend it until it snaps. Use a sharp knife to cut the rest of the spears to the same length. This is faster than snapping each spear.
4. Blot the spears on an absorbent towel, place on a half-sheet pan or other shallow dish and drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and dash of pepper. Roll the spears around to evenly coat.
5. Using tongs, place the spears on the grill. Rotate occasionally until bright green and faint grill marks can be seen.
6. Remove from grill, arrange on a platter, drizzle with dressing and enjoy!
Nutrition information is for 6 large spears (or 1/4 of a bundle) and 1 Tbsp of Lemony Garlic Dressing.
You might also like to try this with my Orange Ginger Dressing, Creamy Lemon Basil Dressing or Almond Butter Lime Sauce.
DISCLOSURES: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products I use and trust.
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