Asparagus with toasted sesame aioli

POSTED: 3:00 PM Apr 24 2012   UPDATED: 5:53 AM Sep 19 2012
Asparagus

Here's a great appetizer for springtime entertaining. The bold, toasty sesame oil adds depth to the classic French garlic-lemon sauce. Arrange the crisp-tender asparagus spears, tips up, in a tall, clear glass, with the sesame sauce nearby, served in a radicchio leaf cup to add color.

Asparagus

16 medium-thick asparagus spears (about 12 ounces), trimmed to even lengths

Toasted Sesame Aioli

¼ cup mayonnaise1 tablespoon dark (Asian) sesame oil

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

To complete the recipe

1 radicchio leaf, optional

Additional toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Steam the asparagus in a covered steamer over boiling water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Or, put the asparagus in a microwave-proof dish; add about 2 tablespoons water. Cover tightly and microwave on high for about 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Drain well. Rinse with cold water and drain again.

Meanwhile, make the aioli: Stir together all the aioli ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.

To serve, arrange the asparagus spears in a tall, clear glass container. Spoon the sauce into a radicchio leaf or small dish, garnish with sesame seeds, and place nearby for dipping.

Advance preparation

The asparagus can be cooked up to 1 day in advance. The sauce will keep for up to 1 week in a covered container in the refrigerator. Bring both to room temperature for serving.