Simple Sesame-Roasted Asparagus
Sometimes simple can be sublime, as in the case of this basic side dish of sesame-roasted asparagus. Roasting brings out the special flavor of asparagus like nothing else can. Aside form enjoying this just as is, you can also cut the asparagus up once it’s roasted, and toss into a mixed greens salad or into cooked grains.
Serves: 4 to 6
- 12 to 16 ounces slender asparagus
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, or red or white wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon white or black sesame seeds, or some of each
Preheat the oven to 400 to 425º F, depending on how hot it runs, or if you have something compatible in the oven at the same time. You can also use a toaster oven if you have a roomy one.
Trim about an inch from the bottom of the asparagus stalks. Peel the bottom halves of the stalks if they’re larger, but you need not do this with slender asparagus.
Arrange the asparagus spears in a lightly oiled baking pan (line with parchment paper for easier clean-up). Drizzle with the oil and roll the asparagus spears back and forth with a fork to distribute the oil.
Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice during that time, or until the asparagus is tender-crisp and starting to get a nice nutty roasted aroma.
Remove from the oven, and arrange on a serving plate. Drizzle with the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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