Continuing with what has become Vegetable Side Dish Week, my favorite Spring thing, besides the absence of snow and ice on the roads, is asparagus. When it appears in the stores at low, reasonable prices, I know it is truly Spring. Our favorite way to eat it is to wash, snap off the bottoms, and sauté the asparagus a few minutes in some garlic and butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Fridge to table in about 5 minutes!
My P.S. (Personal Shopper/hubby) likes to wander through International stores looking for international type things. Knowing I use ginger paste and minced garlic from jars often when I cook, when he came across a blend of ginger and garlic in a paste he brought home a jar. Now I just need to remember to use it before the expiration date. With just two of us, so many things end up outdated!
But asparagus season has arrived and his new jar of paste will come in very handy. My first time out I cleaned the spears, snapped off the woody bottoms and cut them into about 1 1/2″ pieces. We disagree on the cutting; my P.S. wants them to be whole spears. I get one or two on a fork and wonder if I just gnaw on it awhile, or should I have cut it up on my plate before spearing? So I believe in pre-cutting, before cooking the asparagus.
I wanted sesame seeds for the aesthetic appeal but was fresh out. I found mustard seeds and browned a teaspoon of those before throwing them into the skillet with my asparagus when it was finished.
I heated the skillet with a tablespoon of bacon grease we keep in the fridge for just such times, and added the asparagus. I stirred and sautéed it for several minutes until the spears were just beginning to soften. We like quite a bit of crunch left in them so I don’t cook them long.
I added the browned mustard seeds then added a tablespoon of ginger garlic paste and a tablespoon of butter and stirred well until all of the asparagus was coated. I let the vegetables sauté for another minute or two and served it up as our side dish with another small pat of butter. That could be optional if you’re counting calories.
The paste was a good find for probably any sautéed vegetables! The asparagus loved the added flavors and we enjoyed the new blending. The butter and the bacon grease gave the dish a more silky and rich feeling. I’m looking forward to using the paste on more vegetables in the near future!
Ginger Garlic Asparagus with Mustard Seeds
1# fresh asparagus; ends snapped and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
1 teaspoon toasted mustard seeds (or sesame seeds)
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 tablespoon of butter
salt and pepper to taste
more butter for garnish if desired
Toast mustard seeds or sesame seeds in a small dry skillet until browned. Set aside.
Sauté asparagus in bacon drippings for several minutes or until it just begins to soften. Add mustard seeds, ginger garlic paste and butter. Stir and cook until coated. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with another small pat of butter.