Asparagus with sesame oil and herbs


I was looking for a fresh way to prepare a springtime bunch of asparagus I picked up at the market — something light that would let the flavor of the asparagus dominate. This simple salad incorporates fresh herbs, another great springtime ingredient. I used a few leaves of sage and zaatar, which I have growing on my patio, but if you don’t have any zaatar, you could substitute oregano or thyme. I don’t recommend using dried spices, since that would change the spirit of the dish.

My asparagus was tender enough that I didn’t have to peel it. Taste a bit of raw asparagus to check — if it doesn’t have a pleasant texture, you might have to go over the base of the stems with a vegetable peeler.

1 fresh bunch of asparagus (about 12 spears)
Sesame oil
1 small garlic clove
Fresh sage leaves
Fresh zaatar leaves (or oregano, if you can’t get zaatar)

Remove the dried cut ends of the asparagus, and cut the rest into segments that are each a few centimeters long, slicing diagonally. Saute on a medium-low flame in a frying pan with a little sesame oil, until the asparagus are bright green but still crunchy (meaning: don’t let them get soft and overcooked).

Toss in a bowl with a little more sesame oil, a finely sliced garlic clove, and the fresh herb leaves. Sprinkle with salt — kosher salt gives an attractive effect.

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