Fresh apricots are a summer wonder. I can’t get enough of them. I knew the little baskets of organic apricots I brought home from Whole Foods were destined for a special recipe. And when I saw the asparagus in the fridge . . . grilling the two seemed like such a simple but delicious combo.
Who out there still uses a charcoal BBQ?! My mom does! My dad was a die-hard believer in the flavor of charcoal, and he was the kind of person who got enjoyment out of slow cooking dinner for hours. I remember him going outside at like 4 to start the fire– no lighter fluid, because he thought that gave off a bad taste. He would walk around the yard and collect small sticks, and then “tee-pee” them in the bottom of the BBQ to start a small fire. As those got going, he would start stacking a pyramid of charcoal over them.
But not too much charcoal . . . because he had every intention of slow cooking our chicken for about 3 hours and serving it sometime well past the point our hunger pangs began drawing us to the table.
That’s not how I roll. I completely agree charcoal tastes the best. I am not too sure my taste buds are sensitive enough to tell the difference between a small-twig-tee-pee started fire and one ignited with lighter fluid. I gave in to the ease and convenience of gas BBQs a long time ago. But I do love using the old Weber when I am home visiting.
Tips for Grilled Asparagus and Apricots
This recipe would NOT work on my dad’s slow-cooking grill. Apricots are already a very soft fruit, and asparagus is best just heated but not cooked thoroughly. So, a very hot fire is needed. I used quite a few coals, and then let them turn white hot before spreading them (concentrate them where you will be cooking– hot is key here).
After I was sure the fire was at its peak, I placed the apricots face down first. You only want to cook them until grill marks are achieved, quickly turn them to warm the other side, then pull off. The asparagus can go on the grill first and be pulled off after- it certainly isn’t as delicate!
Also, for the best results, use apricots that are just ripened. Overly ripe ones will get too mushy once heated.
Grilled Asparagus and Apricots with Balsamic Glaze
- 1 pound asparagus
- 4 apricots ripe
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup walnuts finely chopped
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey or coconut sugar
- Heat a bbq up to high heat. Be sure the grill is very hot for apricots to grill without cooking through.
- Make balsamic glaze by combining balsamic vinegar and chosen sweetener in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a low simmer over medium heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes until mixture has reduced by half, and is sweet and lost it's acidic bite. If you accidentally over-reduce the mixture, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is a good consistency for drizzling.
- In a small dish, mix together olive oil and honey, and stir to combine.
- Cut or break the tough ends off the bottom of the asparagus, and cut the apricots into halves.
- Use a brush to coat asparagus and halved apricots with honey-olive oil mixture.
- Season lightly with sea salt and black pepper.
- Grill the asparagus and apricots. Place apricots on high heat area of grill. Only lightly grill the outside, 2-3 minutes total, to prevent apricots from cooking through and becoming too mushy.
- When the asparagus is grilled to your liking, and apricots are grilled, remove from heat.
- Drizzle balsamic glaze and garnish with walnuts.