Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sesame-Grilled Asparagus and Berry Tart

I made this recipe this weekend while my family was down to visit. I used to make it a lot, but somehow, in the recent baby-dom of life, it's become much easier to just steam veggies than to actually do anything with them. Though, overall, this is still quite a quick and easy recipe. And I'd forgotten just how delicious it is. This recipe comes from How to Grill, by Steven Raichlen (who is featured on the Food Network).

1 lb. asparagus (the stalks shouldn't be too thin)
2 tbsp. dark sesame oil
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
coarse salt and black pepper
2 tbsp. sesame seeds

1.  Soak either wooden toothpicks or slender bamboo skewers for 1 hour in cold water to cover, then drain.

2.  Set up the grill and preheat to high.  

3.  Snap off the woody bases of the asparagus and discard.  

Though not recommended in the recipe, I chose to boil the asparagus for a few minutes before grilling them, to be sure they were cooked enough and wouldn't take forever to grill. I just boiled them until they were fork-tender.

4.  Skewer 4 or 5 asparagus spears together, using toothpicks or bamboo skewers. (I just use a barbecue grill basket and don't bother spearing them together).

5.  In a small bowl, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce and garlic, and stir with a fork to mix.  Brush this mixture on the asparagus on both sides.  Season the asparagus with a little salt and lots of pepper.

6.  When ready to cook, place the asparagus on the hot grate and grill until nicely browned on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes per side.  Sprinkle the asparagus with the sesame seeds as they grill.  You can serve the asparagus with or without the skewers.

Serves 4.

I then served a berry tart for dessert from a recipe that I had put up on my blog last year:


Except that this year, I used a mixture of fresh berries.  We also made a glaze for it this year (having a bit more time than we did when we originally made it with a one-month old). We basically just put some strawberry jam in a pot (you want to use a jam without too many chunks), added a small amount of water and heated it and mixed it together until it had a runny gelatin-like consistency.  We also had to add a bit of sugar to keep it all sticking together, as the jam I happened to have was a reduced sugar jam.  When heated, we let it cool a bit and then just used a food brush to paint it onto the fruit. The tart then has this lovely looking glaze that also protects the fruit for a bit longer before it turns (if it lasts that long without getting eaten!).  The glaze so makes the tart. I highly recommend spending the extra few minutes that it takes to make the glaze.

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