Here's a great appetizer for springtime entertaining. The bold, toasty sesame oil adds depth to the classic 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. 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.
- 16 medium-thick asparagus spears (about 12 ounces, trimmed to even lengths)
Toasted Sesame Aioli
- 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil (Asian)
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1⁄2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 leaf radicchio (optional)
- 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.