raw marinated pencil thin asparagus

Oh…the happy discoveries a lazy cook can sometimes make! I put together this sauce to go with steamed asparagus for a radio segment I did on Saturday morning. (If you want to hear me talking in French about asparagus, listen here.) I didn’t want to just throw out the sauce after I’d eaten the asparagus (Nearly a pound all by myself. The sauce is THAT good.) but I also didn’t have the time/patience/energy to steam the handful of asparagus leftover in the fridge. So, I tossed the raw asparagus I had into the sauce, shoved the dish back into the fridge for a couple of hours, and waited to see what would happen.

If anything, the raw asparagus version was better. The spears kept their color, and the vinegary mixture had tenderized them just enough to remain crunchy but not taste entirely raw. I ate the whole batch straight from the baking dish while standing over the sink…that is why the photo shows steamed asparagus (which you can also use). I didn’t have time to take another shot.

Soy-Sesame Marinated Asparagus

¼ cup vegetable oil (grapeseed, canola, peanut)
¼ cup soy sauce
2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs. light brown sugar
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp. crushed Szechuan peppercorns or coarsely ground black pepper
1 lb. pencil-thin asparagus or small asparagus halved lengthwise
1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds

Bring all the ingredients except the sesame seeds to a boil in a small saucepan (or in the microwave). Cool. Strain the sauce and discard the seasonings. (You can skip this step, but I like the marinade better when it’s smooth and clear.) Transfer to a baking dish, add the asparagus, and stir to coat the asparagus with the marinade. Cover, and refrigerate 2 hours, or up to 1 day.