With the weather hitting 70-degrees this week (What? In Seattle? Are you insane?), teasing us with the summer we’re unlikely to get until the middle of July, I’m sick of this winter comfort food bullshit. I want morels, asparagus, outdoor drunken barbecues…and a pony.
One of my favorite grill recipes (and absolutely my favorite asparagus recipe) is this one. Smoky grilled asparagus, rich and creamy hazelnut aioli and a tart, sweet pinot syrup. There are a million variations on this recipe today, but this is the one to which I always return.
Yes, there are a couple of sub-recipes. Wah. They're EASY. Everything can be done well in advance, making this a perfect add to the menu when your drunk ass decides to go outside, take a chance on the sun sticking around for a few more minutes, and fire up the grill. (You can do it in a grill pan too, but that’s just douchey.)
You’re gonna love this one!
BTW, Thanks to Jackie Baisa for delaying the shoveling of asparagus into her yawning maw long enough to take the pretty pictures for me!
Grilled Asparagus with Hazelnut Aioli and Pinot Noir Syrup
2 bunches asparagus, stems snapped to where tender and cleaned
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Hazelnut Aioli (recipe follows)
Pinot Noir Syrup (recipe follows)
Toss asparagus in olive oil and salt to taste. Place on well-heated grill and cook until just tender, about 3-6 minutes, depending on heat. Place in serving bowl or individual plates. Drizzle with Hazelnut Aioli and Pinot Noir Syrup.
For the Hazelnut Aioli:
1 shallot, minced
1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp sherry vinegar
2 oz hazelnut oil
3 oz olive oil
Salt, to taste
Hazelnuts, toasted, finely chopped, to taste
Vinaigrette will easily emulsify, so this may be made in a food processor or vigorously by hand. Finish the sauce with finely chopped toasted hazelnuts, saving some to put over the top of asparagus when plated.
For the Pinot Noir Syrup:
1 bottle Pinot Noir, or your favorite red varietal (Note: I used my favorite local Syrah, and it was superb)
5 Tbsp sugar, preferably organic
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt sugar. When sugar begins to turn golden, add wine. Cook down on medium heat until syrupy. This should take 10 minutes or so, depending on heat. Turn sauce down when it begins to thicken because it goes very quickly from that point on. Let cool and reserve. This is good indefinitely. Do not refrigerate.