Thursday, May 10, 2012

Asparagus and Shiitake Mushroom Stir-Fry

By the end of May you guys might get a little sick of my asparagus obsession.  I just can't help myself.  And I have another 4-5 recipes that I intend to make before the spring is over.  So I am going to apologize in advance because I'm going to be on an asparagus kick for at least a little while longer.  But I promise to start mixing in a few other veggies once they become available at the farmers' market.  I have been waiting anxiously for sugar snap peas, which one of the vendors assured me would be ready this weekend.  Yay!  But the first few recipes I make will probably include both asparagus and sugar snap peas.  I just can't help myself.  But I promise that I will at least try to mix it up a little in terms of the types of asparagus recipes we make - both in terms of types of cuisine and entrees vs sides vs salads.

Anyway, if you are looking for a nice easy vegetarian stir-fry dish and you enjoy asparagus even half as much as I do, you totally want to make this dish.  Fresh in-season asparagus has a great sweet, slightly grassy flavor that pairs well with the meaty, earthy dried shiitakes.  And the sauce is sweet and savory, and with the asparagus and mushrooms it made for a very interesting combination of flavors.  Because of the meaty flavor of the mushrooms the dish is very satisfying and hearty.  I didn't miss meat at all in this stir-fry.  Served with some white rice it was a wonderful meal.

Recipe after the jump!

Asparagus and Shiitake Mushroom Stir-Fry
Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors
By Andrea Nguyen
1 1/2 lbs asparagus, woody ends trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch pieces
6-8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water for 1 hour, drained and cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
For flavoring sauce:
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 generous tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp canola or other neutral oil
1 1/2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tbsp canola or other neutral oil

Bring a large saucepan filled with salted water to a boil.  Add the asparagus and parboil for about 1 minute, or until just tender but still firm.  Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.  Set aside.  

To make the flavoring sauce, in a small bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce, oyster sauce, oil, and water and stir to dissolve sugar.  Set aside.  Season to taste with additional sugar, fish sauce and/or water (Alex added an additional 1/2 tsp sugar to balance out the saltiness).

In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the asparagus and mushrooms and stir-fry for about 3 minutes, or until heated through.  Raise the heat to medium-high.  Give the flavoring sauce a stir to recombine, then add to the pan and stir to distribute evenly.  When only a little sauce is visible, after about 1 minute, transfer the vegetables to a plate and serve.

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