Monday, May 14, 2012

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Garlic Aioli

Yesterday we had a lovely mothers day lunch at the Tiki and invited many of the mother's in our life.  Mothers of young children, mothers of grown children, mothers of dogs and cats and food blogs!  We had a great time despite the fact that the skies threatened to rain on us (but never got much past a heavy drizzle).

Our menu was:

Shrimp cocktail
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Garlic Aioli
Grilled Filet Mignon with Cracked Black Pepper
Jess Potatoes
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Bourbon Brown Sugar Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Blueberry Vodka Lemonade

You can find most of these recipes on this blog by following the links.  But I wanted to take the time to post my Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Garlic Ailoi.

This is one of my go to recipes whenever asparagus is in season, and especially with locally grown organic asparagus from Vollmer Farms in Bunn NC.  I love grilled asparagus, but I find that just tossing raw asparagus on the grill tends to dry them out and can make them a little tough.  My answer to this problem is to blanch the asparagus in salted boiling water, then flash chill them in an ice bath to stop the cooking.  This results in vibrantly emerald green asparagus that are still crispy, but tender and juicy.  Then I marinate them in olive oil , garlic and balsamic vinegar before charring them on the grill.

The result is a vibrantly green juicy asparagus spear, loaded with flavor and not at all dry or tough.  They are fantastic on their own, but even better with a quick homemade aioli.

Aioli is basically nothing more than an Italian garlic mayonnaise.  It is ridiculously easy to prepare in the food processor and is great on grilled meat, fish vegetables or even a panini or bruschetta!  Even those who hate mayonnaise like aioli.  Must be the garlic and lemon!

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Garlic Aioli
serves 12

2 lb fresh asparagus (try to use thick asparagus rather than thin asparagus)
crushed ice

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Trim off the woody ends of the asparagus and discard.  Toss half of the asapragus in the pot of rapidly boiling water.  Blanch for 1 minute.  Immediately remove the asparagus from the boiling water with tongs, and submerge them in a very large bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking.

Return water to a rapid boil before blanching the remaining asparagus.

Once asparagus is blanched and chilled, drain them from the ice bath and place them in a 9x13 baking pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and toss to coat evenly.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate 1-2 hours at room temperature.

Grill asparagus spears over high heat until lightly charred.  Serve hot or cold with Lemon Garlic Aioli.

Lemon Garlic Aioli

Lemon Garlic Aioli

1 egg yolk
3 cloves garlic
juice of one lemon
1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup (approximately) extra virgin olive oil

In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, combine egg yolk, garlic, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce and salt.  Process until garlic is finely minced and everything is well mixed.

With processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  The mixture will begin to thicken to the consistency of mayonnaise.  If it is too thin, continue to add olive oil (with processor running) until desired consistency is achieved.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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