Guess what guys? I’m in Hawaii! It’s part work, part vacation, and I am completely happy to be here. We’re staying in Waikiki, and the ocean outside is calling my name. Rather than spend a bunch of time waxing poetic about asparagus, I’m just going to give you this recipe I developed a few months ago with all of my love. It’s tender oven-roasted asparagus with a sweet and spicy sesame sauce. The whole flavor profile seems kind of appropriate, given that we’re in the middle of the Pacific ocean halfway to Tokyo. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Aloha!
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- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Wash asparagus and pat dry. Trim off the tough, thick end part of each stalk. Line the baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleanup, if desired. Spread asparagus out on ungreased baking sheet. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil evenly over the top of the asparagus; I use about 1 tbsp of oil for each pound of asparagus. Use your fingers to gently rub each stalk evenly with the olive oil. Sprinkle the asparagus lightly with salt and pepper. Place in the oven.
- Roast the asparagus for 12-15 minutes. You will know they’re done when the asparagus turns bright green, the stems are tender, and the tips of the asparagus begin to get crisp. Small or very thin stalks may take less than 12 minutes to roast.
- While asparagus is roasting, make sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, sesame oil, rice vinegar, agave nectar, soy sauce and cayenne till smooth. Turn on the stove to medium and heat up the sauce, whisking constantly, till it boils around the edges and thickens.
- Drizzle the roasted asparagus with warm sesame sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm. GF modification: To make this dish gluten free, make sure your soy sauce and rice vinegar are certified gluten free. Many soy sauces have gluten in them so choose carefully! You can also use tamari as a sub for the soy sauce, there are some gluten free certified varieties.