Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Asparagus Tossed with Crushed Sesame

After eating several variations of asparagus risotto for the past few weeks, I decided to try out a totally different way to eat asparagus, and thanks to Kurt and Crystal, I found a recipe that fit the bill.  This recipe is from a book called "Washoku" by Elizabeth Andoh, and let me tell you, it was delicious!  The sesame gave the asparagus and rice a lovely hint of nuttyness, and the "Japanese-ness" of the dish was just enough to taste good without being overwhelming for Clint (who's not as enamored with Japanese food as I am).  Anyway, enough talk - to the recipe!

12 oz asparagus
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (the recipe calls for black, but I only had white, and they worked just fine)
2 teaspoons mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 to 2 teaspoons fish stock or water, if needed

Start a large pot of salty water to boil.
Snap off woody ends of asparagus spears and chop into 1" pieces, set aside tips.
Add asparagus pieces (except tips) to boiling water.  When water starts boiling again, add the tips and cook another minute or two.
Drain aspargus, but don't rinse with cold water, just allow to cool to room temperature (for soft asparagus) or fan until cool (for crisp asparagus).
Toast sesame seeds in 350 oven for about 5 to 10 minutes.  While seeds are still warm, crush using a mortar and pestle or in a food processor (for food processor, double ingredients for sauce).
When seeds get aromatic and slightly oily start adding mirin while mixing and crushing the seeds.  Then add soy sauce the same way.  If the sauce seems too thick, add a drop or two of water or fish stock.
Toss the asparagus in the sauce to coat.
Can be served as a side dish or on top of steamed rice for a meal.

Crushing the sesame seeds and adding the mirin and soy sauce.


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