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I love no-fuss sides that add a fresh complement to any meal – this easy grilled asparagus is definitely one of them.
Asparagus on the grill can be a little frustrating. You don’t want the thicker bottoms to be too raw, and if you cook them longer the tops may burn – UGH. Well, this method will give you perfectly tender, slightly smoky asparagus every time. The best part? You only need 3 ingredients!
Let’s start with the star of this side – the asparagus. When you buy fresh asparagus at the store, make sure you use it within about 2-3 days of purchase. The easiest way to cut off the fibrous stumps is to leave the bottom rubber band on, and cut the whole bunch at once right above that band (about 1-1 1/2 in. from the bottom).
Next, you’re going to quickly blanch the asparagus. Don’t be scared – all blanching means is that you’re going to cook it for a short amount of time, and then shock it really fast to stop the cooking. This ensures that your asparagus will be perfectly al dente all the way through.
You’ll get a pot going with a few inches of water and a big pinch of salt. Doesn’t have to be a lot of water, just enough to submerge the asparagus. Also, make sure that your pot is wide enough to fit the asparagus laying horizontally. While the water comes to a boil, get your shock bowl ready with ice water.
When it boils, drop the asparagus and cook it for 3 minutes (time it!). If you have some asparagus that’s on the thicker side, cook it for 4 minutes.
At the end of 3 minutes, use a wire spider to remove the asparagus from the boiling water, and place it immediately into the prepared ice bath. Let it hang out there for about a minute.
This method keeps your asparagus vibrant green, while also getting it cooked.
Next, heat up a cast iron grill with a spritz of coconut oil spray. Remove the asparagus to a paper towel to dry off the excess water, then place it onto the hot grill.
It doesn’t need much cooking, just until it has some grill marks on each side (you don’t want it looking like a limp noodle though).
Take it off the grill, place it onto a plate, and lightly season with salt and pepper.
Lightly zest a lemon. I like using this easy grip zester because it gives the long, pretty curls of zest. If all you have is a regular microplane or zester, that’s fine too.
Throw some of that zest right over the warm asparagus, and finish with a light sprinkle of Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese. Of course, if you’re paleo or dairy free, just leave the cheese off.
This is a light, zesty, fresh (and fast!) vegetable side that can literally go with anything. My husband’s favorite side is asparagus, and he raved about how perfectly cooked this was. He even ate the asparagus bottoms, whereas he’s normally a strict upper-half-only guy.
Easy Grilled Asparagus (THM FP)
Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus
- zest of 1 lemon
- light sprinkle of Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, optional
- salt and pepper
- coconut oil spray
- Bring a pot with salted water up to a boil. Also prepare a large bowl with ice water off to the side.
- Boil the asparagus for exactly 3 minutes, remove with a wire spider, and place directly into a prepared ice bath. Leave the asparagus in the ice bath for about 1 minute. Remove and pat dry.
- Heat a grill pan with a spritz of coconut oil. Place the asparagus onto the hot grill and grill it for about 2 minutes.
- Place the grilled asparagus onto a plate. Season lightly with salt and pepper, lemon zest, and a sprinkle of cheese.