Japan – The Cookbook: Asparagus with Sesame-Vinegar Dressing


A trio of sesame seeds brightens up asparagus with its subtle flavour and pretty combination of colours’. From ‘Japan – The Cookbook’, the new book from Phaidon by Nancy Singleton Hachisu with over 400 simple elegant authentic recipes including soups, noodles, rices, pickles, one-pots, sweets, and vegetables.


600g asparagus
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
2 teaspoons gold sesame seeds
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
3 tablespoons mirin
1 teaspoon soy sauce
One pinch of flaky sea salt

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Snap the bottoms off of the asparagus where they naturally want to break. Blanch until crisp-tender, 2-5 minutes depending on the thickness. Refresh under cold running water. Pat dry in a clean tea towel. Cut on the diagonal into 3/4 inch (2cm) pieces.
2. In a small frying pan heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the sesame seeds when you can feel some heat rising from the pan. Cook, stirring until you can smell the aroma of sesame, about one minute. Scrape into a small bowl to cool
3. Toss the asparagus pieces with the cooled sesame seeds, vinegar, mirin, soy sauces, and salt. Serve at room temperature, or cold the next day as a salad or vegetable side dish.


You’ll find Japan at the Phaidon Book Store and at Amazon and other good book shops.

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