Grilled Asparagus à la Sutherland
This is my version of what has become a signature dish around my daughter Jennifer's house, where grillmaster Craig plies his trade. The combination of the slightly smoked flavor of the asparagus with the fresh, Asian-fused salsa gives this simple dish a unique and seductive quality, to the point that once you've had it the idea of "asparagus" jumps into your head whenever you're buying grillables at the meat or fish counter in the summer.
1 bunch asparagus (thicker preferred if available)
2 slices fresh tomato, chopped
2 scallions, minced
2 T basil, minced
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp hot sauce
basil leaves for garnish
toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Rinse the asparagus and pat dry. Snap the ends from the stalks, pour a little olive oil over them and roll around to coat. Grill on a medium hot charcoal fire until just tender. The surface will just be starting to blister when done. Sprinkle with salt just after removing from the grill.
Mix the tomato, hot sauce, scallions, minced basil, vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Spoon the relish mixture over the asparagus and garnish with the basil leaves and sesame oil.
This is a great accompaniment to grilled fish. It can also be the center component of a salad. Leftovers, in the rare instance that there are any, make a good starting point for a breakfast omelet.