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so there’s that

Recipe: grilled asparagus

A friend asked if I was planning to photograph the transit of Venus on Tuesday. In all honesty, the transit wasn’t a high priority for me because the eclipse was so bloody awesome. But I find as these events near, I am still interested in seeing them and hopefully capturing them if I’m lucky. The big lenses were rented out, I was teaching a private lesson, and the forecast was for clouds. So my expectations for the transit were zippo. Instead, I spent the day working with Ellen, the boss lady of Helliemae’s Handcrafted Caramels. [Please consider hopping over to her site, clicking on the Mission: Small Business link, and following the steps to vote for Helliemae's so she can qualify to compete for a small business grant. Thanks!]


did i ever mention how much i love caramels?



It was still cloudy as I broke down the equipment from the lesson, but then I noticed a shadow on the ground and turned to see a fuzzy disc of glowing plasma in the sky. I couldn’t help but get my gear together and try to shoot the transit – it was time (started around 4:30 pm MDT). There was a ton of moisture in the air and always a thin cloud layer fuzzing out the details, but I managed one window of less than 30 seconds when I think the sun was as clear as it was going to get all day. It’s not as cool as a total solar eclipse, but it’s still VERY SERIOUSLY AWESOMELY COOL to see the transit of Venus. So there.

she’s got it, yeah baby she’s got it…



The days have been kinda hot lately which puts me in a bit of a mood such that I have little interest in doing anything near the oven or stove. Grilling it is! One of our favorite things to grill is asparagus. Sure you can steam them, stir-fry them, roast them, but grilled is my #1 best way to prepare asparagus. I just love those fat, sweet, juicy spears tossed in the bare minimum of seasonings and grilled until just blistering. We’ve been noshing on these for several weeks now.

fat asparagus is wonderful

salt, pepper, olive oil

washed and trimmed



I break the woody ends of the spears off with my hands. I just give a little bend starting at the base and work my way up until the stalk gives and breaks at a natural transition from tough to tender. Give them a rinse in water and pat them dry. Place the spears in a baking dish, add seasonings and oil, then toss.

drizzle some olive oil

sprinkle salt and pepper

toss to get an even coat on all of the spears



This takes minutes to prepare and cook, yet it’s a total crowd-pleaser… unless you don’t like vegetables and then – what is WRONG with you?! Plop them on the grill. Pro tip: line them up perpendicular to the grates or else you won’t be having asparagus to eat. How long you grill them depends on how you like your asparagus cooked and how strong your grill is. Jeremy likes to grill about 3 minutes a side (two sides) over high flame until they just begin to blister and char.

on the grill

done, but still nice and green



The tips get a little crunchy from the char and the stalks are incredibly sweet and juicy. It’s a great way to get your vegetable on and don’t be surprised if you polish them off in one sitting. That’s why we always double the recipe. If you manage any leftovers, slice them into 1-inch pieces and toss onto a salad. Fantastic.

about 2 pounds of asparagus

eat immediately if you haven’t started nibbling already



Grilled Asparagus
[print recipe]

1 lb. asparagus (I prefer the fat spears), bases trimmed off
2 tbsps olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

*Trim the bases of the asparagus spears. You can either cut them with a knife or break them off by hand. I prefer to break them off by hand by starting with the base between my thumb and index finger and giving it a slight bend. If it gives easily, let it break off. If it doesn’t, then it’s too woody and you want to inch up the spear just a bit and try bending again. Repeat until you find a natural breaking point.

Heat your grill to high (about 400°F). Wash the asparagus and pat dry. Place in a baking dish and toss with olive oil, salt, and ground pepper until all of the spears are coated. When the grill is hot, place the spears across the grates and grill about 3 minutes then flip them over. Grill another 3 minutes or so until just blistering (that’s how we like it, you can cook more or less to your desired doneness). Remove from heat and serve. Serves 2 people who love asparagus. Note: Definitely double the recipe.

23 nibbles at “so there’s that”

  1. Monsterscircus says:

    Uhm absolutely love asparagus! Lovely dish and have a beautiful Day.

  2. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    I love apsparagus grilled. It’s perfect!

  3. Lisa Mai says:

    Mmm so simple and delicious. I think grilling makes them tastier and still kind crispy, while the roasting makes them kind of soggy. I always love your pictures ^__^

  4. thyme (sarah) says:

    Really lovely photograph of those grilled asparagus. I need to remember next time we’re grilling meats to make use of the grill for our veggies. In Texas, it’s hot inside and OUT. Ugh. What a fabulous photo of the transit of Venus in front of the sun. You really got it !

  5. Magda says:

    I love grilled asparagus. Their nutty flavor gets intensified and they are so incredibly delicious. Nice shots, as always. :)

  6. Villy @ For the love of Feeding says:

    Grilled asparagus is delicious! I also drizzle just a bit of vinegar on top, cause we really like it!

  7. Erin says:

    You are the only person I know who could make something so simple look so unbelievably amazing that my mouth starts watering. I love grilled asparagus and that’s exactly how I make it.

  8. Beverly Toney says:

    How come you cut so much of the ends of the asparagus off before cooking? I usually only cut off about half an inch at most on mine. I think I would feel like it was wasting the veggie if I cut off more than that. I love husbands way of cooking ours too. He steams it for like 3 minutes, sets it in the fridge to cool while doing other prep work, then pulls it out and oils it with olive oil or butter, then seasons it with salt, pepper, greek seasoning (Cavanders blend), and then puts it one the bbq grill for another 3 or 4 minutes. It comes out just perfect. Its not crunch but not mushy, and it tastes phenominal.

  9. Margie says:

    Leftovers? NEVER! I love, love, love these little ‘fake’ trees. A fond memory from my earlier days, one with my oldest sister and I walking her MIL’s land (Boulder area) cutting wild asparagus with a paring knife. We’d head home with grocery sacks full of the stuff. Hint: Par-boiling will save some for a rainy day.

    I am so glad you caught the transit, and I’m very thankful you shared it.

  10. Alison says:

    Now I’m going to have to seek out some of those caramels!

  11. Memoria says:

    I casually overheard a news report about the upcoming viewing of Venus and immediately thought of you and your blog (so crazy, right?). I thought, I hope Jen posted some photos of Venus. I’ll have to check them out. Thanks for the clear photo! :)

  12. Sulki says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t use any butter ;) but this inspires me to go out and buy some asparagus! — just hit me is it safe to use butter on a grill?

  13. Shut Up & Cook says:

    We grill asparagus all the time. Love them. Recently did grilled shrimp with blasted asparagus. Also quite good!

    http://shutupandcook.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/like-father-like-daughter-grilled-shrimp-with-lemon-garlic-and-garden-herbs-dipped-in-sriracha-mayonnaise/

  14. joey says:

    This looks gorgeous! I roast them in the oven…how I envy your outdoor grill!!

  15. Gina says:

    another rare astronomical event captured on camera! you make it look so easy. love, love, love your pictures! thanks for sharing.

  16. M. K. says:

    Thanks Jen…inspirational! I’m thinking to combine the cut bits with sauted garlic scapes (from my CSA share this week) & chili flakes to team up with some pasta.

  17. Katie says:

    Sometimes we need reminders of simple recipes and why they are so great. I love love love asparagus, especially grilled. Thanks so much for reminding me!

  18. jenyu says:

    Thanks, everyone! I knew there were asparagus lovers out there :) xo

    Lisa – thank you!

    thyme – yeah, getting into the habit of grilling vegetables is a good one for sure.

    Villy – my friend does that with leafy greens, I’ll have to try it – thanks :)

    Erin – you are a sweetheart!

    Beverly – I don’t, I break it off where the woody ends give which is typically a half inch to an inch. These are fat spears, so the woody ends are pretty tough.

    Sulki – not everything requires butter. I like olive oil too!

    joey – I really love roasting in winter too, but grilling is just one step better in my opinion :)

    Gina – thank you xo

    M.K. – that sounds awesome, mmmm!!

    Katie – yay! xo

  19. Brynnie says:

    I add the hefty squeeze of half a lemon to the pre-marinade for these emerald stalks and it adds just a touch of brightness to the end result!

  20. RacheL H. says:

    I had grilled asparagus for the first time (last year) at a Middle Eastern restaurant and really liked it. A few days ago we grilled some ourselves… I’d never seen it done so I just made it up and it turned out yummy. :) Olive oil and seasonings were all we used.

  21. Kristin says:

    Mmmm….made it, and it was the best asparagus I’ve ever had. And I looove asparagus.

  22. Carolyn says:

    Hi! Love your blog! I’ve been grilling veggies too! Love asparagus. Try sliced beets with garlic tossed with olive oil and a bit of garlic. Amazing on the grill! The beets get super sweet. Awesome photos! Can’t wait to get back out west miss it so much! Thank you for sharing.

  23. Stevie says:

    You can make them into a raft with a couple of skewers before cooking – then you just flip the whole lot over at once, and they don’t fall through the gaps if you’re BBQing. Put one skewer through all of the spears first then the second one, otherwise if you do one spear at a time, the skewers head off at angles and the spears split open.

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