A trio of sesame seeds brightens up asparagus with its subtle flavour and pretty combination of colours.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tsp gold sesame seeds
2 tsp black sesame seeds
2 tsp white sesame seeds
3 tbsp brown rice vinegar
3 tbsp mirin
1 tsp soy sauce
1 pinch of flaky sea salt
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Snap the bottoms off of the asparagus where they naturally want to break. Blanch until crisp-tender, 2-5 minutes depending on the thickness. Refresh under cold, running water. Pat dry in a clean tea towel. Cut on the diagonal into 2cm pieces.
In a small frying pan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the sesame seeds when you can feel some heat rising from the pan. Cook, stirring until you can smell the aroma of sesame, about 1 minute. Scrape into a small bowl to cool.
Toss the asparagus pieces with the cooled sesame seeds, vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, and salt. Serve at room temperature, or cold the next day as a salad or vegetable side dish.
Extracted from Japan: The Cookbook by Nancy Singleton Hachisu (Phaidon, approx €35). Photography by Jennifer May, Kenta Izumi and Kenji Miura.