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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Food: Asparagus

It's in season now and we made some for dinner at La Casa de Los Gatos. It was so fabulous, we're putting aside our pain to send y'all the recipe.

Asparagus Stir-Fry

2 oz sausage (Aidell's jalapeno, or hot Italian, or substitute ground chicken or pork)
2 bunches asparagus
2 Tbsp fermented black beans
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
3 green onions
4 cloves garlic
1/2 thumb ginger
Crushed red chilli flakes to taste
Chilli garlic sauce
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil

Soak black beans in hot water for about ten minutes, then drain, rinse, and chop fine. If using sausage, dice small. Snap off woody end of asparagus and wash well, then slice diagonally into 1" pieces, keeping tender heads separate from stalks. Trim and tail green onions and thinly slice, keeping green and white parts separate. Peel ginger and slice into fine shreds. Mince garlic.

Heat wok till smoking, add oil, swirl around to coat. When oil starts smoking, toss in the white part of the green onions, stir, then add garlic and stir. When garlic releases its fragrance, add ginger and crushed red chilli flakes,and stir. Add black beans and stir about 1-2 minutes.

Add diced sausage and stir approximately 2-3 minutes till lightly browned. Mix cornstarch with about 2 Tbsp chicken stock to a smooth paste. Add asparagus stalks to wok and stir thoroughly till coated. Cover with a lid for approximately 2 minutes. Add chilli sauce, stir well to coat, add chicken stock, stir, cover again 4 minutes. Add asparagus tips and stir till thoroughly coated with sauces and condiments. Cover for about 1 minute.

Stir cornstarch till mixed, add to wok, stir well till vegetables take on a slight glaze, and turn off heat. Add green part of green onion, stir, and serve.

Cook's notes:

1. Substitute ground chicken, turkey, or pork for sausage. You might need to add a little more spice &mdash increase the chillies for instance &mdash or salt. Substitute lemon juice and zest for salt as needed. Stir till no longer pink.

2. Substitute broad bean sauce or yellow bean paste for fermented black beans, if you cannot find them. If using bean sauce or paste, add right before adding asparagus

3. This recipe uses low-fat low-sodium chicken stock. If you use water, you might need to increase spices and add lemon or lime juice and zest to add taste.

4. Any kind of chilli garlic sauce will do. Omit it altogether, if you prefer, in which case, add a little palm sugar or brown or turbinado sugar to the wok right before adding the asparagus.

5. Lee Kum Kee brand from Singapore is your best bet when buying bean paste or chilli garlic sauce.

6. If the cornstarch is too thick, thin it carefully and gently with small amounts of cold water or room-temperature chicken stock.

It was delicious, served over plain brown Basmati rice. Hopefully, there's enough left for tomorrow.

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At 7:50 AM, Blogger zoe said...

yummmmmy! Los Gatos come up with the best recipies!!! Have tried most, and they are the best....

At 9:46 AM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Thank you! Given the distressing state of politics recently, we're probably going to post nothing but recipes and cats over the next few days!

At 7:39 PM, Blogger One Fly said...

My wok is about 25 years of age but this winter for the first time just haven't used it much. Probably has some thing to do with attitude.

I like Lee Kum Kee products the best but what I want to really say is I can't get over how the taste of asparagus changes when it's woked. Sooo good! I use it in every recipe if it's not too expensive. In this area I think it's 53 or maybe 62 frost free days out of the year. Hard to get fresh.

At 9:06 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Lee Kum Kee makes da good stuff. I used their broad bean sauce for the sparrowgrass last night. It was so good I had some for breakfast!

I'm gonna post a roast fish and asparagus recipe - until I roasted it myself, I had no idea roast asparagus could taste good. Sweet.

At 9:08 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

OneFly, have you ever tried Three Crabs Fish Sauce or Golden Boy Fish Sauce? That's the best fish sauce I ever tasted. Much better than the Thai or Filipino fish sauce. I think Three Crabs is from Vietnam, although these days nearly everything is made in Thailand and just labeled different.

Get out your wok, dude!


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