Grilled Asparagus with Warm Macadamia Pesto and Asiago
Asparagus is a lovely spring treat and when it is in season I try to use it often. Read more about asparagus in my article under What’s in Season here. Grilling asparagus brings out beautiful flavor elements that are simply not present when boiling or steaming. The natural sugars caramelize as the asparagus roast and a lovely sweetness emerges that compliments the macadamia pesto nicely. I prefer to roast fat spears as they have a lot of flesh in relation to the skin. Thin asparagus are almost all skin. You can roast the asparagus in a grill pan on top of the stove, in the oven on a baking sheet or on a BBQ. I have a grill pan with ridges that creates lovely grill marks on the spears and that’s what I use when grilling a few spears. If I am preparing a large batch of asparagus I tend to grill them in the oven. This is a nice dish to serve as a first course. Choose thick spears that hold up to roasting.
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
A few chopped macadamia nuts for garnish
Micro green if you have them
To roast the asparagus drizzle the spears with olive oil and toss to coat them with the oil. Heat a grill pan with ridges and brush with olive oil. Add asparagus spears, arranged in one layer, and grill, turning frequently until asparagus is browned in spots and cooked through. Test if it done by removing a spear and cutting into the root end. Alternatively, lay the asparagus on a foil lined baking sheet and roast in a 400℉ oven until they are browned in spots and cooked through. Shake the pan a couple of times to shuffle the spears.
Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet, add the minced shallot and cook until soft and fragrant. Add the chopped macadamia nuts and cook another couple of minutes to soften them and blend the flavours.
Transfer the warm shallot-macadamia mixture to a food processor, add the chopped parsley, salt and olive oil and process until the mixture resemble the texture of pesto. It will not be completely smooth because of the nuts.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
Arrange a few asparagus spears per person on individual plates, spoon pesto over and garnish with additional chopped macadamia nuts and a small bunch of micro greens.