Tue Jun 7, 2011
Oh man, what's wrong with me? Looking through my recent posts, I'm weighing almost equal veggies to meat, shame on me. I guess it's a true sign of the season though—while my carnivorous habits have not ebbed, I also relish in the early waves of summer greens that are available both inexpensively and in top quality. Asparagus is a top favorite in this category, and while that has found me dedicating yet another post to a vegetable, this time I made sure it also contained some meat!
I don't know why, but it took me a while to come around to asparagus. My mom is a fiend for these stalks, but I was having no part of it growing up. Equating it to "yucky" parent food, I think it was the idea of grilling it that finally got me to try it during the earliest days of the Meatwave. Once that happened, there was no turning my back of this delicious veggie that is an early indicator that a summer of fresh vegetables is just on the horizon.
Grilling it didn't come easy though. I fussed around with individual spears on the grill, losing a many to between the grates, before I came across the ingenious solution of skewering them (I saw it in book...I'm not much of a genius). Threading a thin skewer at both the top and base of the stalks makes for incredibly simple grilling. As you can see, I wrapped this bunch in Prosciutto before skewering them...a nice touch indeed.
To the grill, which is where I first found my admiration for asparagus. The reason being is I love the way the tops of the stalks singe and crisp over the high heat, adding a little crunch and a whole lot of flavor. With medium thin spears, this happens quickly too, making asparagus a great veggie for when you're short on time.
Off the grill these only got better when the cooked spears were sprinkled with lemon zest, followed by a squeeze of juice from lemons that were also grilled.
All this added up to asparagus that went quick. The Prosciutto lent a great meaty saltiness, if not a tad overpowering, to spears crisp-tender spears that were deep with flavor from being grilled, while the lemon freshened the whole thing up. I think asparagus is just great seasoned and grilled, but this is really something special.
Oh, and that lonely spear on that plate, don't even think about taking it, it's all mine!
Asparagus Wrapped In Prosciutto With Lemon
1 bunch of large asparagus, washed, tough ends snapped off
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1 lemon, zested and cut in half
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
1. Wrap each asparagus spear in 1 slice of prosciutto, or 1/2 a slice if the slices are large. Thread spears onto the skewers, with 1 skewer going through the bottom of the asparagus and the other going through the top. Drizzle olive oil over the skewered asparagus, and season with black pepper to taste.
2. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread coals out evenly over the charcoal grate. Place lemons halves, cut side down, and the asparagus on the grill over high heat. Cook asparagus until tender and prosciutto crisps, about 3-5 minutes per side. Cook lemon halves until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Remove asparagus from the grill. Immediately squeeze the lemon halves over them, and sprinkle with lemon zest. Serve hot or at room temperature.