Asparagus season is upon us, my friends. And to celebrate its arrival—along with that of budding blossoms, torrential rain, and allergies that just won't quit—a quick, simple, crazy-healthy recipe is in order.
Asparagus Shandong-Style comes from Saveur, and the Chinese side dish is one of the dang easiest you'll ever make, not to mention one of the most rewarding. The asparagus itself is cooked until just crisp-tender, while the soy sauce and various oils add a touch of salt and heat without ever overwhelming the vegetable itself.
The most important step—and one that I forgot the first time I tried the recipe (not recommended)—is to pat the stalks dry after they take a dip in the ice bath. Otherwise, the marinade will have a problem sticking. Beyond that, this one's hard to mess this up.
- 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, ends snapped off
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 2 drops chili oil (or a pinch cayenne powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds (toasted if preferred)
Cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces on the diagonal.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook asparagus 1 1/2 to 2 minutes (slightly longer if very thick). Drain. Place in ice bath 3 minutes. Drain and pat asparagus dry.
In bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili oil (or cayenne). Add asparagus and toss to combine. Top with sesame seeds. Serve