September 18, 2013

Beyond Shandong Asparagus

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Tradition is not sacred in my kitchen. Here, Shandong-style asparagus is kicked up a notch with the addition of vinegar and garlic. Delicious!

1 lb (450 g) asparagus (1 bunch), trimmed, each stalk cut on diagonal into 4 sections
1 tbsp (15 mL) soy sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) each: Asian sesame oil, Chinese black vinegar
1/4 tsp (1 mL) chili flakes
1 small clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 tsp (5 mL) toasted mixed black and white sesame seeds

Bring medium pot of water to boil on high heat. Add asparagus. Cook until just tender-crisp and bright green, about 2 minutes. Drain. Plunge asparagus into large bowl of ice water. Let sit 2 minutes. Drain. Place on paper towels and pat dry.

In medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, chili flakes and garlic. Add asparagus. Toss gently to coat.

Transfer to serving plate. Sprinkle sesame seeds over top.

  • Toasted black and white sesame seeds are sold in Asian grocery stores and in the sushi sections of some supermarkets. If you can’t find any, use regular sesame seeds and toast them in a dry skillet.
  • Chinese black vinegar is aged, with a complex, assertive flavour. It is sold in Asian food shops. The label will say Chinkiang vinegar (or similar spellings).

Makes 4 servings.

Credit: Susan Sampson
Tested in Imperial