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For some people, summer is a season of weekend trips to the cabin. For others, it's a whirlwind of kids' soccer and baseball games. There are people who love camping and avid fans of fishing.
We're all about grilling.
As I've written previously, we have a small but mighty charcoal grill that we use to cook mushrooms and assorted vegetables (me) and meat (Mike). This year, I decided to kick off grilling season with a recipe that would take advantage of the handful of produce items you can reliably track down at Minnesota farmers markets in early summer: asparagus, spring onions, and fresh herbs.
It's a straightforward recipe—you just grill the vegetables and then pour on a basic vinaigrette—but for me, that's the best part about grilling. You don't need to try very hard to make something that tastes exactly like the season, like sun and freshness and heat.
If you're serving this as a vegetarian main course, you'll need to fill it out with something extra to make it a meal—I enjoyed my first serving with a large brioche roll (okay, it was one of Mike's extra brat buns). The leftovers reheated well and were excellent with a sliced hard-boiled egg.
Spring onions are similar to scallions (aka green onions) but have a larger bulb and a more intense flavor. You could easily substitute scallions if desired.
Adapted from A Summertime Grilling Guide from The Splendid Table
Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as part of a main course
- 1 bunch (about 1 pound) pencil-thin asparagus, trimmed
- 2 bunches spring onions (about 10 onions), roots trimmed and with about 6 inches of green tops
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- pinch of sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
Lay asparagus and onions on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper. Using hands or tongs, toss the asparagus and onions until evenly coated. Taste a piece of asparagus and add additional salt and pepper to taste if desired.
Combine the milk, vinegar, mustard, and chives in a measuring cup or small bowl and whisk until well-combined.
Heat grill to high heat. Lay asparagus on the grill in a single layer and cook until crisp-tender, about 2-4 minutes, turning occasionally to cook evenly. Remove asparagus from grill and place on a serving plate or rimmed baking sheet. Grill the spring onions in the same manner and add to the serving plate or baking sheet. Drizzle the grilled vegetables with the prepared vinaigrette before serving.
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