Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Grilled asparagus and grilled red onions are both fine dishes on their own – simple, delicious accompaniments to just about anything – but together they’re even better. The distinct green flavor of slightly charred asparagus marries beautifully with mildly sweet caramelized red onions…and, as you can see, it’s as pretty as food can be.
- 2 medium red onions, peeled
- 1 ½ pounds asparagus (about 24 medium stalks), ends trimmed*
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, best quality such as Fini
- Disposable grill pan**
- Preheat grill to high.
- Prepare red onions: Cut onions in half from root to tip, then cut halves into ½-inch slices. Pull slices apart and tumble into disposable grill pan; toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Prepare asparagus: Place spears in baking dish and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Place pan of onions and asparagus spears on the grill (be sure to place spears perpendicular to grates so they don’t fall through!). Set asparagus dish next to grill (do not clean). Cover and cook vegetables for 2-3 minutes. Open cover and turn asparagus (use tongs to press and roll). Cover and cook 1 -2 minutes more, until asparagus spears are nicely browned and tender-crisp. Remove asparagus from grill and place back in baking dish. Stir onions, cover, and continue cooking for about 15 – 25 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until tender and caramelized. In the meantime, transfer asparagus spears to cutting board and cut into 1½-inch pieces. Place back in baking dish and toss with finished grilled onions. Add sugar and balsamic vinegar and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (I usually add a good ¼ teaspoon more salt). Transfer to serving platter and serve hot or room temperature.
*To trim ends, bend one spear near its base to see where it naturally snaps off. Use a knife to trim remaining spears to the same length.
**Make your own disposable grill pan. Shape two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil over a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Remove foil from pan.