Coming from a background where my mum mainly cooked Indian traditional meals, vegetables like asparagus were not seen on our dining table. Over the years I have used canned asparagus in various tarts and savoury dishes but have always been wary of cooking fresh asparagus as I had not the faintest idea where to start ( this is of course before I started blogging).
Between September and November of each year the Garden clubs in Gauteng raise funds for their charities by opening some stunningly beautiful gardens to the public. The hosts must be very generous and kind to tolerate the general public trudging over their beautiful lawn and poking around their gardens. I must say that it is a privilege to be allowed to see some really spectacular gardens and homes.
This particular garden, Beechwood, in Hyde Park is on a 5 acre property and was laid out in the 1940′s by Joan Pym .
An al fresco lunch was served only at this open garden by the hostess who also runs a cookery school – I made a beeline for the lunch first – and the food was absolutely divine – and this includes the fresh asparagus served with a sesame seed dressing and parmesan.
I have since learnt that asparagus is a spring vegetable and needs to be cooked in lightly salted boiling water for not more than 2 minutes if it’s a young vegetable.
Asparagus with Sesame seeds
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons fresh snipped chives
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
1 pack tender young asparagus (Woolies) 30 spears
To cook the asparagus, tie into a bunch (for easy removal when cooked) and place in a pot of lightly salted boiling water which just covers the tips for not more than 2 minutes. Remove from the pot and refresh under cold water and drain well.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil; add sesame seeds and stir for 1 minute. Add chives and stir an additional 1 minute. Add soy sauce with salt and pepper; stir well.
Remove from the heat. Toss the asparagus into this dressing and immediately place into a serving bowl or platter. Scatter some shavings of parmesan and serve immediately or at room temperature. Do not put cooked asparagus into the fridge before serving as this dulls the colour of the vegetable