A simple, yet elegant side dish; honey soy asparagus with black sesame seeds is sure to impress and leave your guests wanting more!
Maybe it’s just me, but there’s just something really appealing and really pretty about black sesame seeds. Personally, I think they make these asparagus look mighty dapper! I have nothing against the regular white sesame seeds, in fact, I use them all of the time, but those black sesame seeds just look so much better in photographs.
I have been looking for them everywhere, but have never been able to get my hands on them. Recently,I found a large bag of organic black sesame seeds at a farmers’ market; they were only four dollars! I couldn’t believe it.
For this recipe, you might be tempted to use sesame oil instead of olive oil since it would pair nicely with the sesame seeds. But, like all good things, you can have too much. Sesame oil is very potent and has a very strong and evident flavour. Since this recipe needs at least a tablespoon of oil, I would not use sesame oil. You could, however, drizzle a bit of sesame oil over the top of the cooked asparagus instead of using sesame seeds. That would work really well!
Did you know that asparagus had once been used as a medicine? Did you know that asparagus is often depicted in Egyptian carvings dated 3,000 BC? In ancient times, it was also known in Syria and in Spain. Greeks and Romans ate it fresh when in season, and dried the vegetable for use in winter. I found this particularly interesting: Roman Epicureans even froze it high in the Alps, for the Feast of Epicurus. Oh, and there’s also a recipe using asparagus in the oldest surving cookbook, De re coquinaria, Book III. Who knew?
I love food trivia. There should be a board game dedicated to food trivia only. I don’t know why there isn’t already. I’m sure you’ve heard of the board game Trivial Pursuit – well, they seem to have a genre-specific board game for almost everything that exists. There’s one just for sports and one just for Disney. There’s one for the 80’s and one for TV series. I’m sure there’s one for Star Trek Wars! Everything out there has a Star Trek Wars edition of some kind. Haha! Why not a food edition? There you go, Hasbro; I just invented your next edition!
That would be a board game I most certainly would play. I wonder if John.e (the Star Trek Wars addict) and McKenna (the Manga addict) would play Trivial Pursuit – Food Edition with me? My guess is a firm no. Well, Dear Reader, enough of my banter. Let’s get back to this delicious asparagus and the recipe. Until next time!
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- 2 pounds asparagus, washed and trimmed (about 30 spears)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/4 teaspoons black sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with all of the asparagus, trying to keep them all in a single layer.
- Whisk together the honey, soy sauce, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of the sesame seeds. Drizzle this mixture over the asparagus.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes depending on how well you like your asparagus cooked and also depending on the size of the stalk. The asparagus I used was on the smaller size, so I baked them for only 7 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the remaining sesame seeds.
- Serve immediately.
“Good asparagus needs minimal treatment and is best eaten with few other ingredients.” – Yotam Ottolenghi