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Asparagus Salad With Carrots and Shiitake Mushrooms

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 4
Asparagus Salad With Carrots and Shiitake Mushrooms
(Los Angeles Times)
1

Place the mushrooms in a bowl. Cover them with hot water and let them soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms, rinse them and cut off the tough stems. (You can save them for simmering in vegetable stock). Slice the mushroom caps.

2

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cut the asparagus on the bias in 3 or 4 pieces, discarding the tough white bases (about 1/2 inch from the end). Cut the carrots in diagonal pieces about the same length as the asparagus pieces.

3

Add the asparagus to the boiling salted water; it should be covered generously. Boil until the pieces are barely tender, about 2 or 3 minutes; to check, lift a few on a slotted spoon and pierce them with a knife tip. Drain the asparagus, reserving the liquid. Rinse the asparagus with cold running water and drain it well.

4

Combine the asparagus cooking liquid, carrots, mushrooms and a pinch of salt in the saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the carrots are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well. (The liquid makes tasty stock.)

5

For the dressing, whisk the soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of hoisin sauce and 2 teaspoons of vinegar in a small bowl until combined. Whisk in 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and a little salt, pepper and hot sauce.

6

To serve the salad hot, heat 2 to 3 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, asparagus and carrots and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until hot, about 30 seconds. Add the dressing and heat for a few seconds, shaking the pan. Turn off the heat, add the green onions and sesame oil and toss to combine.

7

To serve the salad cold or at room temperature, toss the dressing with the carrots and mushrooms. Just before serving, add the asparagus, green onions and sesame oil.

8

Taste and adjust the amounts of salt, pepper, hoisin sauce and vinegar.

With its simple, Chinese-inspired dressing, this colorful salad is good hot or cold, as an appetizer or as a partner for meat or chicken. If you like, cook the vegetables ahead. If you’re serving them hot, heat them in a little oil for extra richness and shine, then add the dressing directly to the skillet. For serving cold, add the asparagus at the last moment.

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