A specialty of Shandong province, this dish is traditionally reserved for banquets because asparagus is so expensive in China. But in the United States, when the price comes down in summer, take advantage of this flavorful dish.
Asparagus Shandong-Style (Liang Ban Lu-Sun)
The addition of soy sauce, sesame oil, and red chile oil puts an Asian twist on this simple vegetable.
Yield: serves 2-4
1 1⁄2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut crosswise on the diagonal into 2" pieces
1 tbsp. Japanese reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
2 drops red chile oil
1⁄2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus to pot and cook until tender-crisp and bright green, 1½-2 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain, then immediately plunge into a large bowl of ice water; set aside to cool, 2-3 minutes. Drain again, then transfer to paper towels, pat dry, and set aside.
Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, and chile oil in a medium bowl. Add asparagus and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with sesame seeds.