Olive oil, fresh herbs and vinegar with grilled asparagus

I’ve been trying to do something with the big weed patch that used to be a vegetable garden in a generous-sized plot in my yard near the river. As I’ve been digging weeds, I keep finding clumps of oregano. This aromatic herb must be one of the most tolerant of neglect and sandy soil. And, I guess it doesn’t care one bit about being surrounded by weeds. It’s not only growing, it’s spreading. I’ve been digging each little bunch of oregano up, plopping it into pots and sharing them with friends.

I continue to snip chives and tarragon, plants that are tucked in among the perennial flowers in my garden. I always plant plenty of Italian parsley in the big barrel planter. Last week, all of these herbs went into a vinaigrette. If I’m able to get my basil to grow this year (I’ve planted it in pots rather than the ground this time around), I’ll be adding that to the mix of herbs in this vinaigrette.

Of course, this vinaigrette is wonderful on a salad of fresh greens. But, there are more ways to enjoy this herb-infused oil and vinegar dressing. Spoon it over roasted potatoes or into potato salad. Brush it over pizza dough before adding toppings. Use it to glaze grilled chicken breasts. Or, when you have a bunch of asparagus (or the ends of asparagus spears after making spicy pickled asparagus), grill it and eat it with a drizzle of Fresh Herbs Vinaigrette.

My husband has a grill pan designed for vegetables. I rolled the asparagus ends in some of the vinaigrette before he put them in the pan on the grill. Since the ends had been blanched, they didn’t need much time on the grill. Before serving, I drizzled more vinaigrette over the ends and garnished with shaved Parmesan.

Easy, healthful and delicious. And, a great way to enjoy fresh herbs and fresh asparagus.

Fresh Herbs Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk fresh lemon juice, grated zest and vinegar together in a 2-cup glass measure. Slowly pour in olive oil as you continue to whisk to form an emulsion. Add garlic and chopped fresh herbs and mix. Store in covered jar in refrigerator. Shake well before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 1 cup vinaigrette.

8 thoughts on “Olive oil, fresh herbs and vinegar with grilled asparagus

  1. I am mostly an extra virgin olive oil purist but was curious if you have ever used any of your fresh herbs to flavor extra virgin olive oil, and if so, how did it turn out?

    • Mary, I’ve never added fresh herbs to olive oil to keep for any length of time. I buy herb-infused olive oil at a store in Minneapolis, Vinaigrette. One I am enjoying now is an Italian Herb Blend. I believe the fresh herbs are pressed with the olives so that the oil is infused with wonderful flavor, but no bits of fresh herbs.

  2. sounds wonderful–we had grilled asparagus last night to go with lamb but I only used olive oil, oregano and s/p–will try your vinaigrette next–how long will it keep in the frig?

  3. You shouldn’t dig up the weeds n discard them; most if not all of them are edable, and more nutritious than what you plant. My gardens are full of weeds, and I enjoy them more than the plants I grow around them. It would be very beneficial if you learned about wildfoods, and then you could teach your readers about leaving them and enjoying them in a sustainable way, instead of unnecessarily destroying them. Oh, and they would work well in your Vinaigrette’s. The Extension office at WETCC is a great resource to get started, and would make a cool story for the paper! Best of Luck!

    • Looks like you’ve got some quality ingredients, Jessica. I am fortunate to be able to purchase Himalayan sea salt and organic peppercorns at my local natural food co-op. I love the salt. I use the fine-ground HimalaSalt all of the time. You will enjoy the wonderful flavor your new ingredients deliver.

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