Seared spears

Quick as­para­gus, le­mon and se­same saute

The Guardian - Feast - - News -

Prep Cook Serves 10 min 20 min 4

2 tbsp se­same seeds 2 tbsp pump­kin seeds

1 tbsp maple syrup Salt

1 good pinch dried red chilli flakes 1 un­waxed le­mon, zested and juiced

2 tsp se­same oil

2 x 400g bunches as­para­gus

2 heads of greens or 400g sugar snaps 1 tbsp soy sauce Cooked brown rice or noo­dles, to serve This recipe was a happy ac­ci­dent that came into be­ing when I or­dered 10 bunches of as­para­gus from the green­gro­cer in­stead of the two I needed. Se­same, maple and soy might not be the most ob­vi­ous as­para­gus pair­ings, but – trust me – it all just works.

First, toast the seeds in a fry­ing pan un­til they start to give off their aroma. Once toasted, add the maple syrup, a good pinch of salt and the chilli, and cook for an­other minute, un­til the syrup be­gins to bub­ble up around the seeds and thicken (but not darken). Take off the heat and trans­fer to a parch­ment-lined plate, sprin­kle over the le­mon zest and leave to set.

Re­move the as­para­gus tips and set aside, then cut the stems into 5cm pieces on the di­ag­o­nal un­til 5cm from the base, which you can dis­card. Put the pan back on the heat with one tea­spoon of se­same oil and add the as­para­gus and greens or sugar snaps. Fry for a cou­ple of min­utes, then add the juice of the le­mon, the re­main­ing tea­spoon of se­same oil and the soy. Serve with warm brown rice or noo­dles with the maple seeds on top.

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