How often do you have a fully balanced meal in your household? I’m talking a nicely divided plate with the proper ratios of foods: 1/2 plate of vegetables, 1/4 plate of protein and 1/4 plate of some grain or carbohydrate. In our house it’s almost never (and I’m a healthy eater!) It sounds like a lot of work to cook and/or prepare three different dishes. I’ve always been a one bowl, one pot kinda gal where everything’s taken care of at once. Ever since we got our bbq we’ve been experimenting with different foods on the grill which has inadvertently pushed us to eating a more balanced meal. And we’re pretty happy about that, and even happier about this grilled lemon butter asparagus recipe!
Last week we ate these grilled lemon butter asparagus with Spicy BBQ Shrimp Skewers and grilled honey lime sweet potatoes. Mouth watering? Huh-yeah! To my surprise the process of making this meal took no longer than any other one pot soup or one pan casserole and it felt much healthier. I felt like a grown up eating grown up fancy food instead of a grown up eating yesterdays not-so-fancy cheesy casserole.
So let’s get fancy!
Asparagus is one of those vegetables we’ve all hated at some point (some still do). For good reason too because if you get served some mushy, overcooked little spears your nostrils flare and you begin the open mouth chewing signifying something disgusting has fallen onto your pallet. No bueno. Don’t throw in the towel on asparagus just yet! Shame on the person who served it to you for not giving it the proper cooking it deserves!
Grilled asparagus is one of the best ways to eat it. It maintains a nice crunch when you bite into it while getting a beautiful brown crispy roast on the outside that tastes like salty, buttery heaven. Yes bueno!
I adapted this recipe from a Williams-Sonoma Grilling book I got for Chet years ago. It calls for the asparagus to marinade in a tasty pool of lemon, olive oil and spices along with an unusual addition: 1 bay leaf. While making this I couldn’t help but laugh at the bay leaf. What is it actually going to do? It’s just sitting there. And for that matter, what does a bay leaf ever do? So I hit up Google.
Google pointed me to Serious Eats which describes the presence of a bay leaf as “second fiddle” to other more prominent flavors. “But just as a grind of black pepper, some sautéed anchovies, or a softened leek might not be instantly recognizable in a stew, they add a layer of subtle background music for the stars of your dish to play over.”
So there you go. The bay leaf is like the backstage crew to a beautiful Broadway play, or the makeup artist behind those otherwise not so gorgeous celebrities, or the bread to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Without it, other flavors don’t shine…meh…leave it out if you don’t have it. No biggie.
Look at the brown crispy goodness! This deliciousness makes up for the annoying smell of your pee that will inevitable come minutes after eating (I seriously can’t believe how fast it does that!) The asparagus cooks up this perfectly in a mere 2-4 minutes per side on the grill leaving you just enough time to set the table and grab your fork. Eat them while they’re hot, but not before you cover them in lemon herb butter!!
Ah, it’s time for the pièce de résistance! Lemon. Herb. Butter. With a quick mix of ingredients, serve this on the side for people to enjoy as much as they please or put a dollop on top and allow it to melt throughout your stack of grilled greens With just two of us eating, we went for the dollop.
Just as corn on the cob would be nothing with a good slathering of butter, salt and pepper, asparagus can do no wrong without a good hit of flavored up, zesty butter. We’re looking forward to a long summer of grilled lemon butter asparagus! Bring on the smelly pee!
What to Bring to the Store
In order to reduce your packaging waste, bring the following reusables with you to the store:
- 1-2 reusable produce bags for the asparagus and parsley (no need to bag the lemon)
- reusable bulk spice bags for any spices you might not have on hand
Thaz eet! I know you would never forget your reusable grocery bag so I won’t even subtly mention it.
This grilled lemon butter asparagus recipe gets a 5 out of 5 on the waste meter because only one item needs to be tossed! Here’s what to do:
Compost: Lemon Leftovers, Parsley Stems
Trash: Butter Wrapper
- 1 1/2 lbs asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1/2 large lemon)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1/2 large lemon)
- 2 tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (or a dash of hot sauce)
- In a medium-large shallow bowl or tupperware, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and bay leaf. Add the trimmed, rinsed asparagus and turn a few times to coat. Cover and let marinade for 1 hour.
- While marinating, get a small bowl and mix together the butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley and red pepper flakes (or hot sauce). Cover and refrigerate. Allow to return to room temperature before serving.
- Prepare your gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. You can either grill the asparagus directly on the grates or use a grilling basket. Be sure to lightly oil either one before adding the asparagus.
- Arrange the asparagus on the grill or in the basket directly over the heat. Cook, turning once until tender-crisp, about 2-4 minutes per side.
- Serve immediately with the lemon butter on the side.
- If you find a large juicy lemon, that should produce the 4 tbsp of juice you will need. However, if you can't find a large one, be sure to buy two medium sized lemons which produce about 2-3 tbsp each to ensure you have enough juice. Use one for the zest.