Wok-Fried Asparagus With Walnuts

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Back again with my absolute favorite spice blend — Chinese Five Spice. This recipe is completely prepared in a flash — just about five minutes from stove-top to plate. Prep your veggies before you go out for the day, and you will have this dish on the table before you can say “Dinner is served”! Heat the oil in the wok until almost smoking and toss in the asparagus and just a bit of salt. I love that all of the rest of the ingredients are thrown into the mix just one minute later. Toss together to coat the asparagus and continue to stir-fry for two minutes until the asparagus is bright green and tender crisp. Drizzle with a bit of toasted sesame oil once the asparagus is transferred to a serving plate and top with some thinly sliced green onions. Fresh and full of flavor — this healthy veggie dish gets a super boost from another nutritional powerhouse . . . walnuts!


WOK-FRIED ASPARAGUS WITH WALNUTS (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds asparagus, pencil-size or medium
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns, or use black peppercorns
  • ¼ teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 1 to 2 bird’s-eye chiles, thinly sliced, or use serrano or Fresno chiles
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ½ cup toasted walnut halves
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 green onions, slivered
  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Directions

  1. Snap off and discard bottoms of asparagus, then cut into 2-inch pieces. (Halve thicker pieces lengthwise first.)
  2. Set a wok over high heat and add vegetable oil. When oil is hot, add asparagus and season lightly with salt. Stir-fry for a minute or so, then add Sichuan pepper, five-spice powder, garlic, ginger, sugar, chiles, soy sauce and walnuts. Continue cooking over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing to coat well, until asparagus is cooked but still firm and bright green. (It will continue to cook a bit off the heat.)
  3. Transfer asparagus to a serving platter and drizzle with sesame oil. Sprinkle green onions over the top and garnish with cilantro sprigs.

~ from Cooking.NYTimes.com ~

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