Try as I might, I will never tire of in-season asparagus. But I do try to switch things up to make sure things stay interesting in the kitchen. One of my favorite variations is to pair the green stalks with white miso, a trick I first learned from this David Chang recipe. While it might sound like an unexpected combination, the miso is salty, creamy, and packed with umami, which is a great pair for the crisp and sweet asparagus.
Whereas the Chang recipe mixes miso with butter, I created more of a glaze, adding in apple cider vinegar, honey, and gochujang, which is a spicy Korean red pepper paste. The mixture is thick, but also tart and hot.
The Chang recipe calls for an egg, too, but I chose to go with crispy broiled tofu. The tofu is cubed, tossed in some oil on a sheet pan, and then placed underneath the broiler. Once the tofu is warm and both sides are lightly browned, the miso mixture is brushed on and the tofu goes back under the flames.
- 4 tablespoons white miso (or Korean miso)
- 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 (19-ounce) package of firm tofu, drained
- 1 tablespoon canola
- 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends trimmed
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Heat miso, gochujang, apple cider vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally and cook until mixture reduces to a thick glaze, 10 to 15 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, dry tofu, wrap in paper towels, and weigh down with a plate. After 10 minutes, discard paper towels, cut tofu into 2-inch by 1-inch pieces. Toss with canola oil on a foil lined baking sheet.
Arrange top oven rack to 6 inches below the heating element and preheat broiler to high. Set the baking sheet under the broiler and cook until tofu pieces are lightly browned on top, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the pieces and brown lightly on the other side, another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove baking sheet from the oven.
Brush the tofu pieces on both sides with the miso glaze. Set back underneath the broiler and cook until glaze has browned, 2 to 3 minutes a side.
Add asparagus to the boiling water and cook until bright green and tender, about 3 minutes. Drain asparagus.
Divide the tofu and asparagus between four plates. Drizzle any extra of the glaze over the asparagus. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.