Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Asian-Style Asparagus Salad

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From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...By rights, I should have kept this salad to use as a feature for Frugal Friday, but it looked so pretty and is so easy to assemble, that I couldn't contain my enthusiasm. The first of the local crops to flood our farm stands are leeks and, of course, asparagus. I've been doing some work with both and I have a few really nice recipes to share with those of you who are in the market for new ways to prepare either vegetable. I do, however, want to start with asparagus because it has a shorter season and is the more popular of the two vegetables. We had guests on Friday evening and I made this salad to accompany the gorgeous planked salmon the Silver Fox had on the grill. The salad is a hostess dream because it can be made hours ahead of time and left to marinate and chill until you are ready to use it. The recipe I used comes from the Better Homes and Gardens website. There are no problems with the recipe but I did want to briefly touch on blanching, why it is done and why instructions for the technique vary from one website to another. Food is blanched to soften it, or to partly or fully cook it, or to remove a strong taste, or to set color. Blanched vegetables are cooked for a prescribed period of time in boiling water before being plunged into a cold water bath to quickly stop the cooking. In the case of asparagus, exact times are difficult to pinpoint because the size of the spears varies from one bunch to another. This recipe suggests blanching the asparagus for about a minute in boiling water before transferring it to an ice water bath to stop the cooking. That's fine if all you want to do is set color, but it is not long enough produce the crisp tender spears you want to use in a salad. You are going to have to stand there and test them to make sure you get it right. Mine took about three minutes to reach that perfect crisp tender texture that my family so enjoys. The recipe is Simon simple, so, if you get the blanching right you can't go wrong. This is a lovely spring salad or starter and I really think you'll enjoy its simplicity. Here is how the salad is made.

Asian-Style Asparagus Salad ...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bit courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Sesame seeds, toasted

1)  In a covered large saucepan, cook asparagus in boiling water for 1 minute. Using tongs, transfer asparagus to a large bowl of ice water. Let stand for 2 minutes. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Place asparagus in a large resealable plastic bag.
2)  In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce and sesame oil; pour over asparagus. Seal bag. Chill for 1 to 4 hours. Drain, discarding soy sauce mixture. To serve, sprinkle asparagus with sesame seeds. Yield: 4 servings.

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Debbie said...

What a great way to dress up asparagus! I will have to try this.

Tanna said...

Simple and delicious!! Asparagus is one of my favorite veggies. Thanks for this make-ahead recipe, Mary. blessings ~ tanna

David said...

Mary, So simple and sooo good! This time of the year, I even like to take fresh asparagus and just eat it raw. It's really tasty! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

KimH said...

Cant wait to try this one.. I've got lots of asparagus coming on.. Thanks!! Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Simple, elegant and most importantly, delicious.
Mary x

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

I love asparagus and can always use anther good simple recipe. Very nice!

Tricia Buice said...

Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I will make it this week! Frugal or not - I adore asparagus :)

Mr. & Mrs. P said...

We love asparagus and are always looking for new ways to make it.. Thanks for sharing!!

Gwen said...

Sounds wonderful! All of us love Asian flavors and are a bit tired of the usual way I grill asparagus(just w sea salt ;)

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

Asparagus is one of the best and most delicious vegetables to eat - great use my friend :D


Ginny Hartzler said...

I have never had asparagus before. I see the white kind and it looks so pretty, but imagine it would not be as nutritious. My DIL make ham and asparagus wraps.

JG said...

Asparagus is definitely a fave veggie here, Mary! This looks yummy!

Gloria Baker said...

I love asparagus and this plate look really delicious!! xo

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