It may be September but somewhere the asparagus, a springtime treat, is still sprouting. When I see a spear of asparagus, I start looking around for a lurking T-Rex. Asparagus is positively prehistoric looking. And then you taste it, and that confirms that your portion must be prehistoric. That flavor. Nothing like it. I’ll have to try it again next year.

Or, you can use this modestly simple recipe and experience chili heat, butter smoothness and with just the overtones of the veggie. This is mellow asparagus. No dinosaur fears here.

Grilled Asparagus with Chili-Lime Butter

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings


  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1½ lbs thick asparagus spears, ends trimmed
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • vegetable oil for the grill pan


Combine butter, chili powder, cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. Add the asparagus with the butter mixture, sprinkle with salt and season with pepper to taste.

If using a stove-top grill pan, heat over medium-high heat, brush lightly with vegetable oil. Grill asparagus turning once, until just tender and caramelized, 3 to 5 minutes per side, moving asparagus as needed to ensure even cooking.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated