If you don’t want to fire up the grill, you can blanch or roast the asparagus instead. You might want to make a little extra vinaigrette to have on hand; it’s delicious on mixed baby greens, grilled turkey and chicken, and most any sandwich. Like all vinaigrettes, this one can be made several days in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.
Serves 4 to 6
Safflower oil or canola oil, for oiling the grill
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed
10 shallots, cut in half, or 1 red onion, quartered
½ cup Cranberry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or chopped fresh parsley or trimmed, minced scallions
1. Brush the grill grates lightly with the safflower oil. Prepare a hot fire in a gas or charcoal grill and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
3. Toss the asparagus with half the olive oil mixture in a large bowl.
4. Toss the shallots with the remaining olive oil mixture in a bowl, then spread the shallots out in 1 even layer in a baking dish. Roast the shallots, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes or until tender and slightly crisp around the edges.
5. While the shallots roast, place the asparagus on the grill grates (or use a grill basket or grill pan) and cook 5 to 7 minutes, turning often, until bright green and crisp-tender.
6. Arrange the asparagus on a platter or individual plates and top with the shallots. Drizzle with vinaigrette, making certain that each serving has some of the dried cranberries. Sprinkle with the chives and season with additional salt and pepper if desired.