Just another 3 weeks or so until the end of summer, and here in Arizona, we are SO ready for it to end. I’m not kidding. This has been the hottest, driest summer on record for us. And it has been HOT! Which is why we take to grilling as much as we can. Keeping burners and ovens off inside means keeping your air conditioner from having to work harder. So, today I share my citrus and garlic grilled asparagus.
This is one of the dishes I have made several times this summer. It is a perfect side dish for late summer, or any time, really. The bright lemon undertones in the citronette marinade, which later doubles as a sauce, really pair well with the lovely earthy and grassy asparagus taste. Add the aromatic punch of diced garlic and you have a winner.
Do you need an easy, go-to side dish recipe that will always please? Let me assure you, this one may be the right one for you.
let’s make this Citrus and garlic grilled asparagus
Grilling asparagus is a simple and quick way to deliver an outstanding side dish. It doesn’t take any time at all. Five little ingredients, along with salt and pepper, and in as little as 8 minutes or so, you have a delicious vegetable for your table.
Be cautious with the agave nectar. You want it to round out the sourness of the lemon but not make the marinade sweet. If you use too much, your citronette will taste more like lemonade. So, add it last, a little at a time, whisking it in after every addition and tasting. Stop when the marinade is no longer sharply sour but short of being sweet.
First, mix the citronette so that the flavors can blend.
Then wash your asparagus and break off the ends.
By the way, I never cut my asparagus ends, I always break them. When you bend and apply pressure near the ends, the excessive fiber-y part naturally separates from the tender, edible part. I tried cutting them once but ended up with tough ends. Never again.
Also, I prefer thick asparagus spears. I think they taste much better than the little thin ones. And they are better suited to grilling without overcooking.
Place the asparagus in a dish with sides. Choose a dish that will allow them to lay in a single layer for better contact with the marinade. Pour the marinade over the top. Shake the dish back and forth to fully coat all the spears.
The asparagus does not need to marinade for too long. I left it about half an hour before grilling.
By the way, I use a grill pan like the one above to do seafood and vegetables. That way you don’t worry about the food falling through the grill slats.
Grilling the asparagus
Pre-heat the grill to about 400° F.
Then place the grill pan on the slats, turn the heat down to medium, and place the asparagus spears in a single layer onto the pan.
After that, close the lid and cook for 3-4 minutes. The grill should be about 300° F with the lid closed.
In the meantime, don’t discard the leftover marinade.
After 3-4 minutes, open the grill and turn the spears.
Look at that beautiful caramelization. This is where they get their delicate charred taste.
After cooking for another 3-4 minutes with the lid down, transfer the grilled asparagus back into the marinade dish.
I like my asparagus tender and bit al dente. Manage the cooking time to suit your tastes. Just remember that the thickness of the spears and the temperature on the grill will affect the result.
Place the grilled asparagus into you serving dish and pour the remaining marinade over the top. By now, the lemon juice will have cooked the raw garlic down a bit, so it tastes like a delicious accent and not a sharp punch.
But most importantly, your healthy and truly yummy vegetable side dish is ready to serve!
Bright and fresh, tender yet with still a hint of crunch. Velvety, citrusy, juicy and savory. That little bit of charred flavor completes the flavor profile.
Healthy can taste really amazing and does not need to be complicated or take a long time. Citrus and garlic grilled asparagus is a perfect veggie side dish any time of year!
Citrus and Garlic Grilled Asparagus
- 1 bunch thick asparagus spears about 1 dozen
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon or to taste agave nectar
- Cracked black pepper
- Rinse the asparagus in water and break off fibrous ends.
- Then mix the remaining ingredients to make the marinade, using half the agave nectar and adding more (if desired) after whisking and tasting.
- Pour the marinade over the asparagus spears and let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minute.
- Pre-heat an outdoor grill to 400°F.
- Then, place a vegetable grill pan on the grill slats and turn the heat down to medium.
- Lay the asparagus spears on the grill pan in a single layer and reserve the marinade dish and leftover marinade.
- Close the lid on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes (making sure the temperature stays about 300°F).
- Open the lid and flip the spears over to sear the other side. They should be nicely caramelized on the cooked side. Close the lid and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Finally, transfer the grilled asparagus back into the marinade dish.
- Transfer to re-coat in the marinade or transfer to a serving dish and pour remaining marinade over the grilled asparagus.