Monday, August 17, 2009

Steven Raichlen Sesame Grilled Asparagus

Easy, Easy, Easy...

and amazingly tasty... these are terrific, and a crowd pleaser.

OK, here's my generic talk about Steven Raichlen and his book...and me... As long time readers know, I am doing my own tribute (rip-off) off the Julia/Julie project, cooking my way through Steven amazing grill guide, HOW TO GRILL. Unlike Julie, I won't be finishing this in a year, but I will be making an item at least once a week.

I had a great time, making these along with yesterday's blogged about ELVIS Asparagus. I like the idea of two ways of making the same item, and having a Bobby Flay type throwdown. I had a dinner party with six people when I served both Steve's Asparagus and Elvis's Asparagus. My guests are starting to get the idea that they are expected to voice an opinion. I really do want to hear what works and what does not. Often, I devote so much energy to what I make, I am more forgiving than I ought to be. I made everyone promise to give an honest A or B opinion on what they liked...

I'll give you an answer at the end of this post.

A word about reprinting recipes... I asked for some advice a few posts back. I understand that it is done, lots of people do it, and there would be no consequences. But, I decided not to reprint any of Steven's recipes from this book. I have several reasons, first and probably most important to readers, I just think that this is a book that should be in everyone's library. Buy the book. It is very detailed, comes highly recommended by someone who cooks on the grill often (me), lots of photos, lots of instruction... Darn near idiot proof. But, most important to me, I want to respect the copyright. In another life, I owned a book store. I have met and socialized with authors, and I have a great deal of respect for the effort it takes to produce a work like this. It may take a couple years, but eventually, I intend to make every single recipe in the book. Starting to reproduce the recipes, intending to do them all would certainly offend me as a book seller, and probably Steven as the copyright holder. Buy the book, Amazon has used copies available for under $7. Worth every penny.

But, let me tell you in general what I liked about this recipe...Steven gives a terrific tip on a great way to grill Asparagus. As you see in the photo, use wooden skewers and make a little boat of veggies so that they will never fall through the bottom of the grate. Worked perfect. Be sure to soak the skewers in water for at least an hour prior to serving.

One thing I did not care for, Steven's recipe has you just brushing on the sauce. I decided to marinade the vegetables in the sauce for 3 hours prior to putting on the skewers. It worked well in at least one way, the stalks were much more agreeable to the piercing on the skewers. I made this once before without marinading, and it was difficult to pierce the stalks without them splitting. When they were grilled, sure enough, much more flavor than when I had just brushed it on. Marinading in a plastic zip-lock bag was very easy. I highly recommend you add this step if/when you make these.

OK, Elvis or Steven...which was preferred...

Oddly enough, 6 people ate, and the vote was 3 and 3. Even odder, the vote came down to the women preferred Steven's recipe (basically, glazed marinated only, with garlic, salt and pepper..very basic), while the men liked their Asparagus Elvis style, wrapped in bacon with caramelized sugar.

I think it depends on what type of main course you are serving as to which you would be better off making... I made hamburgers and Elvis Asparagus worked well with the fun type of food. If I were making a more formal (expensive) cut of meat - steak, Lamb Chops lobster; that type; I would served Steven's more standard faire.

These are another big winner, except for the marinade instead of brush technique, they are terrific. And with the boat look of being on the skewer, lots of eye appeal. Highly recommend, and I will make again.

On a scale of 1 to 5, this gets a 4. I really liked The eye appeal of the boats, and the extra flavor added with the marinade (or even with just the simple brush) makes these a treat. Steven's recipe does call for just a brushing or glazing. I prefer the deeper taste of having them marinaded. Only reason it does not get a 5.

So far, Stephen has given me 10 highly rated recipes and only 1 that I would not make again. So far, very very good.


  1. I'm thinking that one of these days, you're gonna get me to actually buy that book.

  2. Girli, I ordinarily recommend books based on experience. Someone who regularly cooks on a grill will find plenty of new and challenging recipes. But if you are only an occasional griller, it is a great book with very detailed instructions...idiot (or novice) proof...

    Amazon has them for less than $10 including delivery (used)

  3. I'll eat asparagus in any form, really! Both sound great to me.

  4. These look so cool, and I know they taste great! Steven's book is one of my favorites.