Asparagus season is slowly making it’s way to New York and I couldn’t be happier to get something new and green in my kitchen. If you’d have asked me about asparagus a few years ago, I would’ve had a bit of a debbie downer outlook. In my book asparagus lies in a similar category as brussel sprouts: Green and a little smelly paired with not-so-hot childhood memories leads to a bit of a fear factor. But just like brussels, these green stalks have become something to look forward to rather than dread. One of the reasons for my change of heart is this handy chart by Mark Bittman, which cleverly lays out different cooking methods paired with different ingredients.
Since I’m stuck without a grill, lately my preferred cooking method has been roasting. With Bittman’s suggestion of replacing olive oil with sesame oil, then sprinkling them with sesame seeds and a little soy sauce as a finishing touch, there is no question regarding my taste for asparagus. These puppies are here to stay, and dare I say, I’m kind of craving them.
This recipe is incredibly simple and the flavor is unlike any other asparagus recipe I’ve tried. Ok, well, I haven’t had a ton of different recipes, but this definitely isn’t your normal olive oil and lemon asparagus. Instead the sesame oil and seeds bring a rich, nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the earthy, vegetal flavor of the asparagus. And since they only take about 10 minutes to make, there’s really no reason not to try it.
asparagus with sesame + soy
adapted from Mark Bittman
1 1/2-2 lbs asparagus
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
Heat oven to 450°
Trim or break off stubby ends of asparagus.
Toss stalks with sesame oil and lay in a single row in a baking sheet. Place in oven.
After 5 minutes of roasting, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
When done, drizzle with soy sauce and toss.