This is easy enough for a kitchen novice. You'll need 8 bamboo skewers at least 6 inches long but less than 12 inches long. It's best to soak them for 30 minutes before you plan to use them on the grill.
- 1 pound asparagus
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar (may substitute balsamic vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice), for drizzling
Prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-low (300 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area. For a medium-low fire, you should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 8 or 10 seconds.
Have ready 8 bamboo skewers, preferably soaked, that are at least 6 inches long.
Rinse the asparagus and peel (or scrape) the green "skin" off the bottom 3 inches of each spear. (Peeling the tough skin off the bottom instead of snapping the asparagus reduces the amount of waste.)
Divide the spears into 4 equal portions. Line up each portion on a clean work surface; use 2 skewers to create each raft by threading a skewer about 1 inch from the top of spear and 1 skewer about an inch from the bottom of the spears. The spears should be close enough together so they are slightly touching each other.
Rub the asparagus with the oil on both sides, then lightly season both sides with salt and pepper.
Grill the asparagus for about 5 minutes, then turn over and grill the second side for about 5 minutes, or until lightly charred and just tender.
Transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle the fig balsamic vinegar over the spears while they are hot; serve immediately.
From Cynthia Brown, assistant director of Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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