4 - 6 servings
Bright green lengths of lightly cooked asparagus luxuriate in ginger-and-garlic-infused oil before being drizzled with elusive, dark, sweet Soy Caramel. Effective marinating requires contact space—as horizontal as possible. To this end, use a shallow bowl or gratin pan that is a good fit for the volume of asparagus.
• Choose asparagus on chubbier side, for maximally satisfying mouthfuls.
• For optimal beauty and tenderness, prepare it as follows: After you have snapped off and discarded the tough asparagus bottoms, shave the lower half (or so) of what remains by laying each piece on a cutting board and scraping lightly with a heavy-gauge vegetable peeler. (If you don’t lay them as flat as possible, they’ll tend to break, and for this dish, you want them whole.)
• The asparagus needs at least 30 minutes to marinate, and it’s also fine to leave it, covered and refrigerated overnight. Add the Soy Caramel (which can be made well in advance**) just before serving.
** You will need to make the Soy Caramel at least 40 minutes ahead of time.
2 pounds thick-ish asparagus, trimmed of tough ends and peeled about halfway up (see note)
2 ½ to 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or canola oil
¼ teaspoon salt (possibly a touch more)
1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
1 ½ tablespoons finely minced ginger
- Pickled ginger on top
- A shower of scallions— finely minced whites and/or very thin green ovals
- Finely minced sweet cucumber scattered on top
- A little cluster of thin noodles (plain, cooked—lightly oiled) on top —or a bed of them below