Asparagus with Maple Tahini Dressing

Vegan asparagus with tahini maple dressing is a lovely gluten free side dish
Vegan maple-tahini dressing adorns the Queen of Spring: Asparagus.

Spring here in BoHo infused West Hollywood means trading in your Uggs for flip-flops. And hurtling downhill on your skateboard past midnight, apparently.  For four nights in a row now I've been startled awake by the rolling wheels of wild ones zooming past our bedroom window in the wee small hours of the morning. I suspect they are taggers, or teenage paparazzi on the hunt for misbehaving Melrose prey (there have been more helicopters lately). Sleep has been edgy and restless. The season of change is afoot. Or rather on a roll.

Which in an odd and sleep-deprived way, brings me to asparagus.

It's a welcome signal of warmer days (and nights!) when those bundles of slender green stalks are back, standing tall in elegant rows at the local market. Erect, perky little beauties.

My deep and abiding craving for asparagus is surprising for someone who never tendered a single bite of fresh asparagus until my third decade here on planet Earth. Yes, you read that right. Three decades. I admit it.

I was anti-asparagus.


In my own defense, I must mention, in full transparency, that the only asparagus I was served in childhood was from a can. A CAN.

And Darling! If you've never had the non-pleasure of noshing said limp and stringy excuse for a such a brilliant vegetable, I am here to assure you, it was tinny, flaccid, and disgusting with a capital D (and in full disclosure, it ended up buried deep inside my paper napkin, doomed for the garbage pail as soon as the parental and familial accomplices to this vegetable horror were occupied elsewhere, tuning into the Lawrence Welk Show).

But now? I could eat asparagus till the grass fed cows come home. 

I could chomp, night and day. Happy as a Green Goddess in vegetable heaven. Can you overdose on asparagus? I hope not. Because I'm indulging every chance I get.

It's been a long, root vegetable-centric winter.

For my first asparagus of the season I wanted a simple, fresh recipe- nothing complicated. And nothing roasted, because I've been roasting vegetables all winter long. And although my favorite way to cook asparagus is to roast it with olive oil and and garlic- like this Sexy Spring Pasta Recipe with Roasted Asparagus- this time I craved a super easy, super simple presentation.

I just barely cooked it, simmering it briefly in a scant amount of water until it turned bright green. Tender-crisp is the goal (think mushy, canned, and go for the opposite).

Then I whipped up a simple dressing with sesame tahini and pure maple syrup, and sprinkled some coarse sea salt over it. Vegan heaven. On a plate. And did I mention? 

Not a single Lawrence Welk bubble in sight.


Asparagus with tahini maple dressing is vegan and gluten free
Fresh asparagus with a dressing worthy of such an elegant vegetable.

Karina's Asparagus Recipe with Maple Tahini Dressing

Recipe posted April 2009.

I cooked this batch of asparagus quickly- not even five minutes- because I wanted the stalks to be tender but ever-so-slightly crisp. I served them at room temperature with our favorite dressing.

Ingredients:

1 bunch of perky thin asparagus, enough for four servings

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons sesame tahini
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Hot water, as needed

For serving:

Coarse sea salt or Kosher salt

Instructions:

Trim the bottom ends of the asparagus stalks, rinse, and lay them in a skillet; I used my big iron skillet. Add just enough water to keep them from scorching and cook them briefly, rotating them until they are bright green. Taste test for doneness to your liking.

Rinse them quickly in cool water (I do this to stop them from cooking, getting too soft, and turning yellowish green; I like them bright and crisp for this dressing).

Whisk the dressing ingredients in a glass measuring cup; add a little bit of hot water to thin. Whisk till smooth. Taste test and adjust the balance of sweet and nutty and tart. (I don't add salt to the dressing because I serve the asparagus with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt over the top.)

Serve the drained asparagus on a plate with a drizzle of Maple Tahini Dressing and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

Cook time: 5 min

Yield: Serves 4

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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And be sure to check out Kalyn Denny's round-up of asparagus recipes at BlogHer- Food Bloggers Answer: What's Your Favorite Way to Cook Asparagus?




xox Karina

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