Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Another great barbque recipe for asparagus that my mother passed on to me:

Asparagus with Fresh Basil Pesto

1 bunch fresh, local asparagus
olive oil

2 handfuls fresh basil (mostly leaves, but a few tender stems is OK)
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1-2 ounces parmessan cheese (you can use a chunk, broken up if you wish)
1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
olive oil, approx 1 cup, or more
salt to taste

Preheat BBQ to high. Meanwhile, clean and trim asparagus. Place in a shallow dish and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt.Toss to coat well. When BBQ has up to temperature, reduce heat to medium and place asparagus right on the grill or in a grill basket. Grill with the lid down for about 10 minutes, turning regularly, or until asparagus is slightly charred but still tender crisp.

While asparagus is grilling, make the pesto. In a food processor bowl, combine basil leaves, garlic, toasted pine nuts, parmessan cheese, 1 tsp red wine vinegar and about 1/2 cup of olive oil. Process until fairly fine. Add more olive oil, as needed until a paste forms; it should be more wet than dry. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and up to 1 tsp more of red wine vinegar. Transfer to a jar. This recipe will make a lot. To store pesto, cover the paste with olive oil to prevent air from reaching the pesto. Refrigerate. Great as a flavouring for scrambled eggs, brushed on fish after cooking, or even in a salad dressing.

To serve grilled asparagus, toss with 1-2 tbsp of fresh pesto. Top with a few shavings of fresh parmessan cheese (from a block, not a carboard container!). Serve warm or at room temperature.

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