The combo of mushrooms and some green vegetables is a very popular one in Chinese cooking, and that’s because it works every time. This stir fry uses shiitake mushrooms and asparagus, a lovely Spring-ish combo.
Shiitakes are a great mushroom, savory and meaty, readily available, and with a great slightly chewy texture. Other mushrooms are also fair game.
I like to use some of the sesame oil to sauté the vegetables, and keep some for drizzling over at the end, as the heat can diminish the rich sesame flavor, so adding a bit more to serve keeps the wonderful nutty flavor strong.
The toasted sesame seeds are optional, but they really take only an extra 2 minutes, and they make this simple dish look and taste a notch above everyday.
Other simple things you could do to bump up the flavor are adding a bit of minced garlic or shallots to the vegetables as you sauté them, and or some fresh minced ginger. Scallions are also nice sprinkled on at the end.
And having said that, the simplicity of this dish is lovely, and it rounds out any kind of Asian meal beautifully.
What to serve this with?
- Simple Asian Salmon
- Honey-Hoisin Salmon
- Korean Pork Chops
- Spicy Stir Fried Beef and Vegetables
- and a great bowl of perfect rice – do you know How to Cook Perfect Rice on the Stove?
Sesame Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms
- ¼ cup untoasted sesame seeds
- 1 pound shiitake mushrooms
- 2 pounds thick asparagus
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat a very large dry skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and stir frequently for about 1 or 2 minutes, until they start to become golden. Transfer them to a plate and wipe out the skillet with a paper towel or a dish towel. Trim off the stems, then wipe the caps of the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to clean them. Slice the mushrooms into 1/2-inch slices.
- Trim the bottoms off of the asparagus, and if they are thick and the peel is tough, use a vegetable peeler to peel of the outer layer of the asparagus on the bottom half of the stalks. Cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and the asparagus, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 or 6 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and the asparagus is crisp tender. Drizzle over the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil and toss well. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds. Serve hot or warm.
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