Grilling asparagus is an easy way to cook this earthy vegetable. Serving it with this delicious Italian Bagna Cauda adds a warm velvety texture.
2 bunches of baby asparagus
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped capers
3 salt packed anchovy filets, rinsed well
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup whole Italian parsley leaves
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Blanch asparagus until barely tender and bright green about 2-3 minutes. Plunge asparagus into an ice water bath to stop the cooking (this can be done a day ahead).
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring butter, oil, garlic, capers, and anchovies to a boil and turn down heat immediately to a simmer.
Simmer for about 10 minutes on low heat. Add the lemon juice and zest and set aside until ready to use (this can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month and reheated when ready to serve).
Meanwhile heat the grill and cook asparagus on an oiled rack, set 5-6 inches over glowing coals. Grill until heated through and there are grill marks about 2 minutes per side.
Remove asparagus to a plate and drizzle with bagna cauda and serve.
Chef's tip: This dish is easy to make and most of it can be done ahead. As always use as many organic ingredients you can find for optimum flavor and health.