Grilled asparagus makes for an easy, delicious and healthy side dish that’s ready to serve in 15-minutes. In this recipe, it’s topped with Italian salsa verde — a simple fresh tasting sauce that elevates seasonal produce to a whole new level.
What is salsa verde?
Salsa verde is well known in Italy as perhaps the most versatile herb-packed green sauce, next to pesto. Not to be confused with the spicy Mexican sauce also called salsa verde.
The Italian salsa verde is a herb-based sauce using parsley as the base. Traditionally it includes anchovies, salted capers, lemon juice, olive oil garlic and vinegar. The ingredients are chopped together very very finely or mashed with a mortar and pestle until you have a thick sauce. This version is made with a mix of herbs (parsley, tarragon and mint), capers in brine, and the addition of toasted walnuts for a little extra crunch. You’ll find endless uses for this easy, versatile sauce! It can be used on practically everything from vegetables to meat and fish.
Get that grilled flavor on the LeMax
I love asparagus in all sorts of ways, but grilled asparagus will always be one of my favorites. Crisp-tender with a lightly charred flavor, it’s simply irresistible. Once again, I put my LeMax grill to the test only to prove that you don’t need an outdoor grill to enjoy the experience of grilling. With the ELAG LeMax glass ceramic grill you have the benefit that you can grill indoors or outdoors, all year round, because it’s electric! And just like an outdoor barbecue it has plenty of room for all of your grilling needs. So let’s get grilling!
How to prepare asparagus for grilling
Get rid of the woody ends. You can either trim the asparagus with a snap where there is a natural break. Or since in season now asparagus is so fresh and less woody, you can use a knife. The knife will easily enter the stalk where it is tender. If you need to add a lot of pressure then just move up the stalk until it can easily be sliced.
Grilled asparagus — tips
Keep it simple. Cooking asparagus on the grill couldn’t be easier! If you are using the LeMax, I recommend coating it lightly with oil before placing the asparagus on it’s heated surface. If you are using a traditional outdoor gas or charcoal grill, then simply coat the asparagus with olive oil before placing it on the grill.
Use tongs to roll the spears for even grill marks. Tongs make it easier to work with the spears than a spatula or fork. I find that it’s easier to turn them by gently using the tongs on the head of the asparagus, since it its less slippery.
Grilling is quick! Depending on the thickness of your spears, you’ll need to them for roughly 6 to 10 minutes over medium-high heat. For thicker spears you can plan with 10 minutes. This gives you an idea of how long you have to grill or prepare your other side dishes.
Looking for other asparagus recipe inspiration?
Then try one of these delicious recipes:
- Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Truffle Vinaigrette
- Asparagus with Mediterranean Salsa
- Asparagus with Lemon Butter & Parsley Breadcrumbs
- Roasted White Asparagus with Tahini-Lemon Sauce
Grilled Asparagus with Italian Salsa Verde & Tiger Prawns
For the grill:
- 600 g green asparagus, trimmed
- 6 tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
- A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
- Heat-resistant oil, for the grill
For the Italian salsa verde:
- 30 g walnuts, lightly toasted and finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, very finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tarragon, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers (in brine), drained
- 90 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- Finely grated zest from 1 organic lemon
- Freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 a lemon
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Handful cherry tomatoes, chopped
Place the tiger prawns in a bowl with a small drizzle of olive oil and toss to coat (if desired, also add a little minced garlic and/or chili flakes). Set aside.
In a small bowl, add the walnuts, garlic, fresh herbs, capers, olive oil, lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside.
Preheat the tabletop grill (or barbecue) over medium-high heat (on the LeMax level 8 for 5 minutes).
Brush the surface lightly with heat-resistant oil. Place the asparagus on the grill and cook for 5 minutes, until just charred. Flip the asparagus and cook for another 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Cooking time may need to be adjusted depending on thickness of the asparagus spears.
After flipping the asparagus, place the prawns on the grill. Grill for two minutes, then flip and continue grilling until opaque (4-6 minutes in total).
Transfer the asparagus and prawns to a serving plate. Drizzle with salsa verde and garnish with the chopped tomato. Serve any remaining salsa verde on the side.
Everything in the salsa verde should be very finely chopped — by hand, for the best texture and flavor. It can be prepared up to two hours beforehand. This also let the flavors mingle. Any leftover sauce, can be livened up with a splash of lemon juice.
Italian salsa verde is also terrific served over other types of roasted vegetables, and even potatoes, pizza, and pasta. Or try it with roast lamb or grilled fish.
Italian salsa verde can be made with a mix of herbs. Use 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley along with a mix of soft herbs such as tarragon, chervil, thyme, dill and marjoram.
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