It seems the Trout is always searching the Internet for new recipes. This week he pulled a recipe off the New York Times which sounded really good. Then we found perfect asparagus this week and we knew this would be on the menu.
So at this time, I also need to talk about the love/hate relationship of cilantro. I almost find this situation amusing. My big question is, "how can you hate the taste of cilantro?" Here we are...the two of us. One with Czech and Norwegian taste buds and the other with German infiltrated through every muscle. Thinking back, we are not really sure the first time we tasted cilantro. It had to be in the last 14 years or so since we retired and have ventured off the due course of eating into total experimentation and indulgence. We both love cilantro! In fact, we now grow it in our herb garden. It is such a clean, fresh taste and goes perfectly with Thai and Oriental cooking which we do a lot of. Soapy? I don't think so. In fact, each time I eat it, I try to imagine a soapy flavor and it just does not come through.
So, if you do not like cilantro, I am sorry. You will not like this recipe. It is absolutely necessary and makes the recipe POP with excitement.
Simple Spicy Asparagus in a Wok
from the New York Times
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, medium or pencil-size
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 small dried red peppers (we omitted this)
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon Chinese chili paste
1 teaspoon grated garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest (don't omit this...it is great)
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
3 green onions, slivered
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Snap off ends of asparagus and then cut into 2 inch pieces
Set wok over high heat and add vegetable oil. Add dried peppers and let sizzle and then add asparagus, tossing well to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Stir-fry for a minute or so, then add chili paste, garlic, ginger, orange zest and jalapeno. Continue cooking over high heat for a minute or so, until asparagus is cooked but still firm and bright green.
Mound asparagus on a serving platter and drizzle with sesame oil. Sprinkle cilantro, green onions and sesame seeds over top. We served this with a grilled chicken breast that was marinated in sweet chili sauce.