Grilled Asparagus & Onions with Balsamic Vinegar and Oregon Blue Cheese

I do not do a lot of Vegetable side dishes on my site, probably because I focus on the main and the side dishes are just a part of the program.  However, this one is very good and involves a Green Egg and BBQ so I could blog it without the risk of losing my Man Card.  This one is a winner, winner chicken dinner.  Give it a try. Serves 4

  • 2 lbs. of asparagus (two bunches) trimmed, cut the ends off.
  • 8 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion, I love my Walla Walla onions.
  • 2 Tbs of Balsamic  vinegar (use the good stuff).
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup crumbled of Oregon Blue Cheese from Rouge Creamery if you can, if not get the best quality you can find.
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced dried black mission figs (the small ones) Do not be afraid, just try it…trust me it brings the dish together.
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted.

I use my charcoal Green Egg grill, but you can use pretty much any grill that has good heat.  Charcoal does however, gives it that smoky taste.  Get the coals nice and hot and burned down to a good gray charcoal.

Season asparagus with salt and pepper and olive oil.
Season asparagus with salt and pepper and olive oil.

Put the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle with 2 Tbs of the oil, and season with 1/2 tsp of the salt and pepper.  Turn to coat.  I use a nice vegetable grill that I highly recommend.  However, if you do not have one feel free to use skewers on the asparagus and onions so you can flip them all at once.  Grill asparagus until they have nice grill marks, about 4 minutes.  Turn and continue cooking until tender and browned.  Transfer to a large platter.

Grilled aspargus
Grilled asparagus.

Coat the onions with 2 Tbs. of the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill covered, until tender and browned, 8 to 10 minutes then return to baking sheet.

Walla Walla onions nice and browned.
Walla Walla onions nice and browned.

Please do not leave these two rock stars out of the line up.  They are essential.  Make sure to toast the pine nuts it brings out their flavor.

Toasted Pine Nuts and sliced figs, and chopped Thyme
Toasted Pine Nuts and sliced figs, and chopped Thyme.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, the Balsamic, and thyme.  Toss the asparagus with about half the vinaigrette and then arrange neatly on the platter.  Scatter the onions over the asparagus and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.  Sprinkle the blue cheese, figs, and pine nuts, and serve. This was the side dish I made for my wonderful father on father’s day.  I was in the kitchen and he was out fixing my water feature pump.  A great way to spend the day together, yelling thru the window at each other all day.

Grilled asparagus and onions with Balsamic Vinegar and Oregon Blue Cheese
Grilled asparagus and onions with Balsamic Vinegar and Oregon Blue Cheese.

This has wonderful grilled smoky flavor, with a little twang of vinegar, and a bam of blue cheese.  The figs bring out a little sweetness to nicely balance the dish.  I hope you try this one folks, summer dinners out by the bbq will not be the same.   The Hunting Chef

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