Asparagus is an odd vegetable. It's the sprouting stalk of a fern-like plant. But when grilled asparagus isn't really that odd at all, if you're an asparagus lover.
Asparagus is usually boiled or steamed and served with a sauce, olive oil or melted butter. I grew up eating creamed asparagus...chopped and boiled asparagus drenched in a mild white sauce. Asparagus can also be stir fried with beef, pork or chicken. This is one versatile vegetable.
Grilling asparagus is easy, and gives these shoots a flavor that can't be found in asparagus cooked other ways. The heat of the grill causes carmelization, which is the browning you see in grilled foods, and gives it a unique flavor.
Trim the tough ends off of the bases of the stalks. An easy way to do this is to grasp the stalk at the base and about midway up the stalk and bend it until it snaps. Below the point it breaks at is the tough part...the top part is all tender. Use the tough ends for soups or creamed asparagus by peeling off the tough skin.
Preheat the grill to medium high, leaving a cool zone to one side. Coat the asparagus spears with olive oil or other vegetable oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Position the tender tips over the cooler zone, with the bases of the stalks directly over the heat.
Grill for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn and grill for another couple of minutes. Tastes vary regarding the level of doneness preferred. Some prefer asparagus cooked until soften througout,while others like it to retain some of its crispiness. Vary the grilling time accordingly.
As the asparagus grills, melt a small pan of butter on the edge of the grill, which is drizzled on the finished grilled asparagus when served.