Fresh Asparagus is so close you can taste it!

So with the warm weather hopefully showing up soon, grilling season comes to mind for many. With that also does the new crop of asparagus! This gets my creative juices flowing to encourage people  to experience different tastes, textures and aromas. Step outside of your everyday and try something a little different you may be pleasantly surprised. If you have never enjoyed grilled asparagus fresh off the grill, then now is the time!

You can drizzle them with oil and grill them until lightly charred then enjoy as is, or with a squeeze of lemon or one of my favs-a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. A favourite quick appetizer I serve is prosciutto wrapped asparagus and it really is just that! I usually slice the prosciutto slice in half lengthwise and wrap each asparagus with half and grill the asparagus until the prosciutto is crisp and the asparagus is deep green. A drizzle of balsamic glaze this time makes them disappear quickly!

I also like to get a little creative and whip up something different like this recipe for Grilled Pork Chops with Grilled Asparagus Salsa! Check it out and happy long weekend...

Grilled Pork Chops with Grilled Asparagus Salsa

Thick juicy pork chops on the barbecue will make everyone happy for dinner. Easy enough for a weeknight meal be sure to enjoy the tender crisp sweetness of fresh local asparagus in this spiked up salsa.

2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil
1/2 tsp (2 mL) grated lime rind
2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each sweet smoked paprika and salt
4 butterflied boneless Ontario pork loin chops

Grilled Asparagus Salsa:
8 oz (250 g) fresh Ontario asparagus spears, trimmed
2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil, divided
1 jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup (60 mL) diced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

In a resealable plastic bag, combine oil, lime rind and juice, thyme, paprika and salt. Add pork chops and turn to coat evenly. Let marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes or refrigerate for up to 2 hours. Place on greased grill over medium high heat, close lid and grill for about 12 minutes or until hint of pink inside and juice run clear.

Grilled Asparagus Salsa: Meanwhile, toss asparagus with 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the oil and place on greased grill with jalapeno pepper over medium high heat and grill turning occasionally for about 10 minutes or until slightly charred and crisp. Remove asparagus and jalapeno to cutting board. Chop asparagus and place in bowl. Peel skin from jalapeno and remove seeds; dice and add to bowl. Stir in onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice and remaining oil. Stir in salt to combine.

Serve with pork chops.

Makes 4 servings.

Tip: Look for smoked paprika in the grocery store spice aisle or gourmet food shops. It adds a slight smoky flavour that is truly unique. Then after you use it, try it in your recipes that call for regular paprika for a new twist.


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