My favourite way to have asparagus used to be steamed (but just enough so the spears are still al dente) and then drizzled with butter and fresh lemon juice. Hollandaise sauce is also highly acceptable accompaniment. (snork)
I have a new favourite way for asparagus though: stir-fried with chili peanut black bean sauce. When you try it, it will be your new favourite way to serve asparagus too….
You’ve got to try this! Quickly!! Local asparagus is still available (just).
- ¼ c vegetable oil
- 2 tsp chili flakes (more or less)
- ¼ c onion, minced
- ginger, chopped
- garlic, chopped
- dried salted black beans, roughly chopped
- ¼ c roasted, salted peanuts
- asparagus, chopped in largish bite size pieces
- water, optional
- Sauce Heat oil to medium high in a frying pan.
- Add chilli flakes and cook until slightly dark.
- Add onion and cook to translucent.
- Add ginger and cook until softened.
- Add the black beans and cook a few minutes.
- Place in a bowl to cool. Test for salt and add more oil to cover if necessary.*
- Asparagus Heat oil in wok. (We use safflower or sunflower oil.)
- Add asparagus and stir to cover with oil. Add a little water if you want. Turn heat down to low; cover with a lid and allow to simmer til asparagus is al dente (3 to 5 minutes).
- Stir in as much of the sauce as you like and heat through (reserve the extra sauce in the fridge for another day).
Serve immediately with jaggery chicken. And rice, of course. Or with grilled meat, oven roasted potatoes and/or bread. Whatever you do, just make sure there’s lots of asparagus. It tastes like more.
Extra sauce can be served as a condiment. It is wonderful in Asian Noodle Soup. Or with fried rice. Or with chicken that has been roasted on a bed of onions or mushrooms in a claypot and then served over rice. Or in a chicken sandwich. Or….
* To trim the asparagus, rather than breaking it in half, use a sharp knife to cut away the tough part of the asparagus. Starting at the blunt end of the asparagus spear, gently tap against the spear with the sharp part of the blade until the knife wants to cut through. I hope that made sense!! (We learned this from Laura Calder’s TV show “French Food at Home” and are forever indebted to her because now we get to eat more of the asparagus that we buy.) edit: added photo of trimming asparagus
* Remember – the sauce is a condiment and should be salty and oily.
Black Beans (Glycine max) and Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
I had difficulty deciding exactly what to feature for WHB this week. Is it the black beans that are absolutely essential to the flavour of the stir-fried asparagus? Or is it the ginger?
I waffled back and forth. Unable to decide, I elected to say that both are equal. While neither could be considered as herbs, both are used in the same way that herbs are: as flavouring.
Please note that the black beans are soy beans that have been fermented and salted til they are dark dark brown or black. Apparently, fermented black beans are a source of fibre, iron and calcium; ginger has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Both taste delicious.
Please read more about ginger and black beans:
- Previous WHB posts featuring black beans or ginger:
* in praise of black bean sauces (WHB#133: Black Beans)
* palak paneer revisited (WHB#131: ginger)
- The Cook’s Thesaurus
:: fermented black bean:: ginger
- Gernot Katzer’s Spice pages – ginger
- Asia Food Glossary – Black Bean Glycine max
- OChef: The Difference Between Asian & Latin Black Beans
- Plants Free for Life – propagating and growing ginger (plants-free-for-life.com/ginger.html)
- Doug Green’s Garden – growing ginger in the north (was at douggreensgarden.com/ginger.html)
- World’s Healthiest Foods
:: Ginger – In-depth nutrient analysis
:: Soy beans – In-depth nutrient analysis
:: soy bean
:: fermented black bean
This week’s WHB host is Cheryl (Gluten Free Goodness). The deadline for entering WHB#191 is Sunday 12 July 2009 at 15:00, Utah time (GMT-7). For complete details on how to participate in Weekend Herb Blogging, please see the following:
Sometime last week, we had asparagus simply tossed with just a little olive oil and salt and then barbecued in the barbecue wok. Oh my!! Even though we’ve had asparagus this way before, I think I may have another new favourite!
- asparagus omelette
- eggs fauxrentine revisited – asparagus rules! (WHB#187: chives)
- local asparagus at last!
- Yay! It’s asparagus season pasta with asparagus, toasted pinenuts, caramelized onion, grainy mustard, dill weed and goat cheese
- asparagus link to recipe for ginger garlic asparagus
edit 13 July 2009: Cheryl has posted the WHB#191 roundup. Take a look at all the delicious looking herbal entries!