Serves 6 as part of a 4 dish antipasto platter or 4
as a side dish
grilling you need large, thick asparagus, not the very thin,
"pencil" asparagus. Look at the tips to make sure the asparagus
hasn't begun to flower. Blanching the asparagus with a quick
dip in boiling salted water softens the stalks just enough
for them to be pierced by the skewers without breaking; it
also reduces the grilling time. It is easier to support and
turn the asparagus if you use two skewers, soak them in water
for half an hour before grilling to avoid burning.
12 thick stalks asparagus (about 1 1/4 pounds)
3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp finely chopped shallots
1/4 tsp coarse salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, toasted in a 350 degrees oven
until crisp (about 5 minutes)
a Barbecue Grill:
Trim 1 to 2 inches off the large end of each asparagus or
cut all the asparagus to 6 inches. Lightly peel the lower
half to remove the thin outer layer of skin. Drop the asparagus
into boiling salted water and boil for 1 minute. Drain and
plunge into ice water for 2 to 3 minutes
the asparagus from the water and lay 4 pieces close together,
all in the same direction. Insert two skewers through all
4 stalks, a third of the way from each end, leaving a 1/2
inch space between the stalks. Repeat with the remaining asparagus.
Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
over hot coals, turning once, just long enough to color
lightly and warm throughout, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.
make the vinaigrette, stir together the olive oil, lemon
juice, shallots, salt, and a few grindings of pepper. Arrange
the asparagus on a serving platter and spoon the vinaigrette
on top. Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs and serve.