1 pound fresh asparagus
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 shallots, minced (about 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons white wine
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Zest of ½ small lemon
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon flaked sea salt (such as Maldon)
⅛ teaspoon white pepper
For the lemon butter: In a small bowl, combine the shallots and white wine. Let soak for 30 minutes. Drain very well.
In a medium bowl, mash or stir the butter until it is smooth and slightly fluffy. Add the wine-soaked shallots, then mix well. Add the parsley, lemon zest, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mash with the back of a fork to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated. Adjust salt and pepper, as needed.
Cut a large rectangle of kitchen parchment. Drop the butter onto the center of it by the spoonful to form a log. Roll the butter in the parchment and smooth out to form a round log. Twist both ends to seal. Refrigerate until hard and easily sliced, about 1 hour. Can be made in advance and stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer for up to 3 months. This recipe makes enough lemon butter for 16 servings. Prepare the entire batch, then divide into quarters, freezing the portions you don't plan to use immediately. If tightly wrapped in plastic, the butter will keep all summer. Try it on almost any grilled vegetable.
For the asparagus: Heat the grill to medium and prepare for direct heat cooking. For a charcoal grill, the coals should be spread evenly under the grate. For a gas grill, all burners should be on.
Trim off the tough bottoms of the spears by grasping each end and bending it gently until it snaps at its natural point of tenderness, usually two-thirds of the way down the spear. If the spear is less than 6 inches long, chances are it has already been trimmed for you. Alternatively, you can cut the ends off with a knife.
Place the spears in a zip-close plastic bag. Add the oil and massage the spears to coat very well. Sprinkle in the salt and massage again. Leave the asparagus in the bag until ready to cook.
Use tongs to place the spears on the cooking grate crosswise so they won't fall through the grates. Grill 5-8 minutes, turning occasionally to expose all sides to the heat. The asparagus should begin to brown in spots, but don't let them blacken and char. The larger the spears, the longer they will take to cook. Remove from the grill and serve immediately with lemon butter.
Nutrition information per serving: 250 calories, 25 g fat (9 g saturated), 5 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 3 g protein, 30 mg cholesterol, 600 mg sodium.
Elizabeth Karmel for The Associated Press