I didn’t think I’d ever be posting a food entry on this blog, but here we are! The Manga Moveable Feast (MMF) that Otaku Champloo is hosting this month is encouraging us to go out and try these wonderful foods that we are reading about. Oishinbo is convenient in that the volumes even come with one or two recipes. So I decided to do the two asparagus recipes from Oishinbo: Vegetables: Asparagus with Walnut Dressing and Asparagus Grilled Kabayaki-Style.
Asparagus with Walnut Dressing
- 10 asparagus stalks
- 1/4 cup white miso (I used the miso I found in my fridge. It was brown.)
- 1/4 cup dashi (I used instant kombu dashi powder from the grocery store; 1 packet was more than plenty)
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1 tsp salt (unless this is used for boiling, I’m not sure where this was supposed to go)
1) Rinse and dry the asparagus. Trim off the tough part at the base of the stalk and the scales along the side. Cut the stalks into 2″ lengths, place them in a pot with hot water and a dash of salt and bring to a boil.
2) Before the asparagus gets too soft, remove them from the pan and place them on a strainer to cool. Fan them to cool quickly and prevent overcooking. (I dumped them in a colander and then set them in front of a fan while I did the other stuff)
3) Grind the walnuts with a mortar and pestle of a food processor. Put in a mixing bowl and stir in the miso and the dashi. Arrange the asparagus on a dish and spoon the dressing over the stalks. (The small blender that came with my stick blender was perfect for grinding the walnuts.)
Miso paste added to the dashi and ground walnuts.
Finished dressing and cooled asparagus.
Asparagus with Walnut Dressing. Very tasty! I loved the dressing, it was sweet and nutty. I may have overcooked the asparagus a little bit, they were slightly too soft. It really is just until the water boils, and then promptly remove.
Asparagus Grilled Kabayaki-Style
- 10 asparagus stalks
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/2 cup sake (I only had sweet sake, so I used that. They might have wanted a drier sake)
- Sansho or Sichuan pepper (My friend sent me a Japanese 7 spice pepper from NYC, so I wanted to use that instead)
(I used 1/4 cup measurements for mine since I was using slightly less asparagus and knew it would be too much. It was still too much!)
1) Rinse and dry the asparagus. Trim off the tough part at the base of the stalk and the scales along the side.
2) Line 5 stalks of asparagus neatly in a row and skewer them with two bamboo skewers. (I did not do this. I didn’t feel like going out and buying skewers)
3) For the tare sauce, combine the soy sauce, mirin, and sake in a small saucepan and bring to a light boil.
4) Place the asparagus skewers on a heated grill. As the skewers grill, brush the asparagus with the tare sauce several times to make sure the flavor soaks in. When done, sprinkle with the pepper and serve.
Grilling the asparagus. The skewers I’m sure make it much easier to brush the sauce on. They wouldn’t stay still when I was doing it. The recipe also recommends a hibachi or charcoal grill, but I don’t have one of those. So Cuisinart panini grill it is!
Asparagus Grilled Kabayaki-Style. Very nice. The flavor was light and it was pretty spicy (I might’ve put a bit too much pepper on). The texture was good, al dente. Not slightly mushy like the walnut asparagus. However, I think I liked the flavor of the walnut dressing over this one.
And that’s my experiments with asparagus! I think I will definitely make the walnut sauce asparagus again. In fact, I have quite a bit of leftover sauce, I might just go buy another bunch of asparagus and boil them up.
(recipes are both from Oishinbo: Vegetables, published by Viz Signature)