Evenly seasoning asparagus spears is never a sure bet.
Treat Your Asparagus Like Turkey: Brine It
Asparagus has a natural nonstick coating that makes salt just bounce right off. Tossing the vegetable with some oil helps the salt stick, but there are still two problems: You’re left with uneven distribution, and none of that seasoning reaches the interior of the spears.
Want asparagus that’s evenly seasoned inside and out? Brine it.
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When you think of brining, you probably think of brining turkey and roasts. And you’re right. It’s one of our favorite—and scientifically-proven—ways to enhance meat’s flavor.
But it works for other ingredients too. The same strategy can apply to asparagus and other vegetables you put on the grill, such as grilled carrots and grilled zucchini.
However, unlike other vegetables, asparagus has a tough and waxy exterior that prevents liquid and seasonings from getting in. So before submerging the spears in the brine, gently prick them with a fork.
This creates openings that allow salt from the brine to travel to the interior of the asparagus through diffusion. The result is deeply and uniformly seasoned spears ready for charring.
In our recipe for brined grilled asparagus we follow these steps:
- Use a fork to poke holes up and down the asparagus spears, about 20 holes per spear.
- For every pound of asparagus dissolve 1 part kosher salt to 8 parts water, or ¼ cup salt in 2 cups of water.
- Add asparagus to brine. Weigh the spears down with a plate to keep them submerged.
- Let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour. No need to emulate a long turkey brining time.
- Transfer asparagus to a paper towel–lined plate and pat dry. Discard brine and grill.
Bonus tip for the road: To check that your asparagus is properly grilled, hold it horizontally. A well-grilled spear should just begin to bend, not completely flop, under its own weight.
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Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!
Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.
Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!
John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.