This quick steaming/braising method conserves the flavor, nutrients, and dietary fiber of asparagus. Asparagus is delicious complemented with Asian staples: ginger, garlic, soy sauce, mirin, and toasted sesame oil. You don't even need any special equipment: The small amount of liquid added to the skillet is enough to steam the asparagus; it then sautés in the remaining fat after you remove the lid. This dish is sure to become one of your weeknight essentials.
—Myra Kornfeld, Myra's Kitchen
1. Dry-toast the sesame seeds in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
2. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces. (You should have about 4 cups.) In a large (2 to 3 quart) skillet with sides, place the asparagus, water, shoyu, mirin, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and a sprinkle of salt. Cover and set the heat to medium. Let the asparagus steam for 4 minutes, just until bright green and crisp tender.
3. Uncover, turn heat to high, and cook, stirring, until the liquid is evaporated. Remove from the stove and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. Serve hot.
Makes 4 servings.
Photograph by Felicia Perretti
Originally published in Organic Gardening magazine, April/May 2014