30 May 2006

Asparagus Aspirations Part 2

Posted in food at 10:13 pm by Tricia

Whenever I want to try something new and add zing to a vegetable, one of the first places I turn is Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. I’ve found quite a few keepers in this cookbook – dishes I’ve never really encountered elsewhere, but that intrigue my tastebuds and stretch my horizons. For example, she has a “pumpkin pie” recipe from Greece (p 293) – think spanakopita (spinach pie), not Thanksgiving custard concoctions – and it never ceases to amaze people I make it for.

But I digress. This post is supposed to be about asparagus! The following isn’t the most exotic or intriguing of her asparagus recipes, but it was very satisfying. The addition of green chile and sesame oil added a flavor element and richness that went beyond what I’d expected. My second entry for Asparagus Aspirations is:

Asparagus with Pine Nuts
from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian (p 136)

2.5 lbs asparagus, trimmed, peeled, cut into thirds, and left to soak according to directions on page 133
2 Tab olive oil
3 Tab pine nuts
2 scallions, cut into very fine rounds all the way up their green sections
1 to 1.5 tsp very fine chopped fresh hot green chile
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp soy sauce
2 Tab oriental sesame oil

Asparagus Prep I didn’t have scallions on hand, so left that out. Instead of fresh chile, I had to rely on 2 cubes of defrosted chile, from last fall’s harvest (our garden last year: chiles, red bell peppers, and raspberries!). And I only had less than a pound of asparagus left, so scaled the recipe accordingly – except I used way more chile than would be called for.

Drain the asparagus well.
Put the olive oil in a large sauté or frying pan and set over medium heat. When very hot, put in the pine nuts. Stir once or twice until the pine nuts are golden and then remove them with a slotted spoon and spread on paper towels.
Quickly put the scallions and chile into the oil. Stir once and put in the asparagus, 3 Tab of water, and the salt. Stir gently to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes, or until the asparagus is just done.
Uncover and add the sugar, lemon juice, soy sauce, and sesame oil. I mixed these ahead of time. Stir to mix, boiling away most of the liquid as you do this.
Add the pine nuts, toss, and serve immediately.

The final product is not the most photogenic dish, but very enjoyable! Asparagus with Pine Nuts

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  1. marie said,

    p.s. you can get roasted sesame oil (i.e., Asian sesame oil) at a Korean grocery soooo much more cheaply as Koreans drizzle this oil on everything, ask for Cham-ki-rum. Also, cheap cheap cheap dried shitakes are p’yogo mushrooms. Bon apetit.


  2. jonskifarms said,

    Thanks for the tip, Marie! I got my current bottle at Trader Joe’s, so it was reasonably priced, but I’ll check an Asian grocery first next time.

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