april 11, 2018
What better way to welcome spring and say so long to winter than with a recipe featuring elements of both seasons? Hey, there, asparagus, nice to see you again! Butternut squash, it was a good run, and now it’s time to make way for greener crunchies. With my quest to add more veggies to my daily meal plan (see previous post for Socca Pizza), I am finding that if vegetables are roasted ahead, or stir-fried ahead, I”m much more likely to heat and serve alongside my main dish.
Quick is good. Easy is good. But I don’t want to skimp on flavor, which is why today’s recipe employs this trinity of flavor boosters: sesame oil, chili garlic sauce and coconut aminos. What a happy discovery finding coconut aminos at the Trader Joe’s! My current favorite go-to substitute for soy sauce, this dark elixir brings umami, a little saltiness, a little sweetnes and a whole lot of mouth happiness. I can take a lot of heat, but if you have a delicate sensibility, go easy on the chili garlic sauce. Likewise for the sesame oil since a tiny dab goes a long way —too much lends bitterness to the dish.
Asparagus is my old friend which helps me mourn the passing of winter ( yes, I know I am in the minority) by awakening me to the joys of the spring produce palette. I’m especially fond of asparagus as a stand-alone star, like Asparagus with Smoky Yogurt, Asparagus with Carrot Honey Vinaigrette and Asparagus with Orange Mustard Vinaigrette . My favorite way to eat butternut squash is in a flavorful puree like Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Cider and Chipotle Spice.
This quick and easy stir-fry of asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, red cabbage and shredded butternut squash will serve four, but I will admit that half the pan became my light lunch, with a bit of side protein. The remainder was great at room temperature the next day. Beyond a day, the veggies will be wilted and less flavorful, so if you’re preparing for others who value quality and visual appeal, serve immediately while color and crunch are premium.
Asparagus and Shiitake Stir Fry
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes four servings
one cup shredded red cabbage
one heaping cup shredded butternut squash
12 ounces asparagus spears, trimmed and cut in thirds
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, caps only, left whole if small
one scant tablespoon neutral oil like canola or grapeseed
large pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon coconut aminos (plus more for the table)
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon chili garlic sauce (optional, for heat; increase as desired)
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- Have all vegetables prepped and seasonings ready — this is a quick stir-fry.
- In heavy large saute pan, heat the neutral oil over medium high and when pan surface appears to shimmer and a tiny drop of water dances, add the cabbage, butternut squash and asparagus with the kosher salt and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn and adjusting heat if needed.
- Add the shiitake caps, stir quickly, cover and steam about 1 and a half minutes.
- Add coconut aminos, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce (if using) and stir briefly to distribute flavors.
- Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and serve immediately.