Marinated Asparagus with Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette

It’s asparagus season. I adore asparagus, especially when it can be grown close by. I love to grill and roast it, but recently discovered this marinated asparagus – spiked with ginger and garlic, it’s addictive. A great thing to keep in the fridge to snack on – much more flavourful than a carrot stick.

This weekend we’ll be heading up to Edgar Farms for their asparagus festival – last year we went on a wagon ride out to the asparagus fields, and Elna Edgar let W drive the tractor. We came home with armloads of asparagus and jars of asparagus relish, but what really won me over was the marinated asparagus served at the barbecue afterward. It’s Elna’s recipe – her family’s favourite – and a simple way to prepare asparagus and keep in the fridge to serve at a barbecue or top a salad.

Contrary to popular belief, thinner isn’t always better when it comes to buying asparagus – thick spears can be wonderful, so long as they aren’t woody. (Thin spears can be woody, too.) Snap off the ends wherever they naturally break – if this occurs around mid-stalk, the spears are woodier than they could be.

Marinated Asparagus with Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette

1 lb. fresh asparagus
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

Vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
1/4 tsp. sesame oil

Bring lightly salted water to boil in a medium skillet, add asparagus and cook for 5 minutes or just until tender-crisp. Immerse asparagus in ice-water to stop the cooking action. Pat dry and arrange on a platter. Toast sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden. Watch carefully-they tend to burn quickly.

Shake together the dressing ingredients in a jar or whisk in a bowl; pour over the asparagus and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve it. Serves 4.

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