Grilled Asparagus with Ponzu Sauce
When you can go into a supermarket any day, any time of year and find practically everything you need or desire — like peaches in December or apples in June — it’s easy to forget that there’s such a thing as seasonal food.
Yes, there are a few foods that still invite yearning, as you wait for them to be ready at a precise time. You can’t force shad to spawn whenever you want them to, so shad lovers like me have to wait to buy the fish around May or June. And I have yet to see a pumpkin for sale in July.
But even for the stuff you can buy whenever, there is an actual season where it is available locally. And that seasonal, local food is infinitely better. A tasty break from the transported foods from afar.
Locally grown asparagus is just about beginning its season in many parts of the U.S. So if you like asparagus, now is the time to buy and savor it. Local, seasonal asparagus is like no other. The spears are more tender and delicate tasting than the others.
Also, it’s Earth Day. If it’s sunny out where you are and you have a grill, celebrate the call for eating local products when you can by grilling a bunch of asparagus. Or use a grill pan or an oven broiler. No matter.
Here’s a recipe for Grilled Asparagus with Ponzu Sauce. It’s an easy recipe and you can skip the Ponzu Sauce if you like, because plain old grilled asparagus is fine too. You can save leftover Ponzu Sauce in the fridge for a few weeks.
Grilled Asparagus with Ponzu Sauce:
6 tablespoons Ponzu Sauce
2 pounds asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 serrano chile, deseeded and chopped
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Make the Ponzu Sauce and let it rest for at least one hour. Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan (or oven broiler). Wash and trim the asparagus and dry the stalks on paper towels. Rub the olive oil over the asparagus. Grill the asparagus for 6-8 minutes, or until they are tender, turning them occasionally and brushing with the Ponzu Sauce. Makes 4-6 servings
To make the Ponzu Sauce: place the orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice, soy sauce and rice vinegar in a bowl. Add the ginger, chili pepper, scallions and coriander. Mix well and let rest for one hour or more before using. Makes about 1-3/4 cups