Before you say “asparagus? not again, Andreea”, just take a moment to think about how amazingly delicious asparagus is during spring and then consider making this dish 🙂 It is quick, healthy and delicious! I made an asparagus stir-fry dish a few years ago, but it had hoisin sauce, and while that can be delicious, I wanted something lighter this time around. Cook’s Illustrated (CI) has a recipe in the May-June issue that looked closer to what I was envisioning for my stir-fry, plus CI always has some nice tips for their recipes that so far haven’t failed to deliver! I’ve made this once following the recipe closely (well, I did add some chicken that was begging to be cooked) and then a few more times changing the ingredients a bit to make the dish more to my tasting, in this case more tangy ginger (chopped, not grated) and a bit of spice. The main lesson from the CI recipe was to add water to the sauce and have that steam finish cooking the asparagus. This gives you flavorful, crispy on the outside, nice and tender on the inside asparagus spears…what more can an asparagus lover want? 🙂
Ingredients (serves 2 with rice or noodles):
- sauce: 1 Tb water, 1/2 Tb soy sauce, 1/2 Tb dry sherry, 1 tsp brown sugar, ~ 1 inch piece of ginger chopped into small cubes, 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1/2 Tb sambal
- 1 Tb peanut or vegetable oil
- 1/2 lb (~ 1/2 bunch) asparagus, ends snapped and cut into 1 – 2″ pieces
- 4 oz (4-6) shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- scallions slices or cilantro for topping (optional)
If serving with rice, make sure to start the rice first as this dish is fast 🙂
Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Heat oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and mushrooms and cook until asparagus is crisp on the outside and browned in spots (~ 4 min). Add the sauce and cook until asparagus is tender (2 – 3 min). Serve with rice or noodles!
As I said, super-fast and easy. I really like dishes like this that come together fast, are full of flavor and very versatile. You can obviously make this with an array of veggies/mushrooms/meat. Now, if only my grocery store would stop carrying the wilted sad asparagus bunches and replace them with fresh springy ones, I could be eating this a lot more often!