Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sesame Asparagus

I love asparagus, but I always make it the same way: grilled or roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper, and covered in freshly grated Parmesan cheese. This way of making asparagus is delicious, which is why I have stuck to it for so long. It doesn't require a recipe and as long as I buy asparagus, I always have all the other items on hand. Seriously, I keep a huge block of Parmesan in my fridge. You might wonder how I use it up before it goes off, but in my book, Parmesan can top an endless list of meals.

Back to the asparagus. This recipe is straightforward and easy, but a little bit fussy since it requires an ice bath. However, it's still fairly simple and has a welcomed Asian kick. I followed the directions this time, but I'm curious to see if you could just grill or roast the asparagus shortly to keep them crispy but slightly cooked. You definitely do not want to over cook these. I also halved the dressing since I'm not a fan of extra oils and such, but feel free to double it if you like having more.

Recipe from Alexandra Guarnaschelli
Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: up to 2 minutes

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt
1 pound fairly thin pencil asparagus, ends trimmed, chopped into 2-inch pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons sesame seeds

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, white wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar. Set aside.

Prepare an ice bath: Fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and add some cold water. Place a colander squarely inside the ice bath. The colander will keep you from having to pick the asparagus out from amongst the ice cubes in the ice bath.

Add salt until the boiling water tastes like seawater. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes - you want them to be crunchy. If the asparagus are thin, cook for only 1 minute. Remove the asparagus from the water with a strainer and transfer them to the colander inside the ice bath. Allow them to cool completely for a few minutes and then place them on a kitchen towel to drain any excess moisture. Toss the asparagus, sesame seeds, and the sauce together and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until ready to serve. Pin It Now!

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