Spring always brings plenty of young asparagus, pencil-thin with bright green stems. But too many dishes cover up the fresh taste of the asparagus with a fattening sauce.
This simple, Japanese-style soy dressing is flavored with toasted sesame seeds rather than oil and uses mirin, a sweet rice wine found in Japanese and gourmet markets.
Steaming the asparagus also keeps the fat away. It’s best to cook asparagus within a day or two of purchase. Store asparagus in the refrigerator until using. Set it in a glass of water so that the ends are covered, just like a bunch of flowers.
Snap or cut off the tough ends of the asparagus spears. If the asparagus spears are thick, use a vegetable peeler to peel the lower 2/3 of the stalk. Place the asparagus in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam until the spears are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 10 to 15 minutes.
Place the sesame seeds in a small skillet and toast over medium-low heat until they turn light brown and become aromatic, 1 minute. Watch carefully; they tend to brown quickly. Crush the seeds with a mortar and pestle.
Combine the seeds with the soy sauce, mirin, sugar and lemon juice. Arrange the asparagus on a platter and pour the sesame sauce over the top.
Get our Cooking newsletter.
Your roundup of inspiring recipes and kitchen tricks.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.