This is one of my favorite side dishes for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s delicious. Second, it’s fast. Third, it’s worthy of accompanying finer main courses like steak, as well as plainer things like chicken fingers. And, fourth, I invented it myself.
Wash and trim a bunch of fresh asparagus. To determine where to cut the ends off the asparagus, select a typical spear from the bunch. Grasp it between your thumb and forefinger in the middle of the spear and with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand on the cut end. Bend it gently until it snaps. The point where it snaps is where you should cut the other spears in the bunch. This gets rid of the dry, fibrous ends, leaving tender, tasty spears for your dish.
Peel and french cut a large white onion. This is done by cutting it in half along the top-to-bottom axis. Place one half cut-side down on the cutting board and cut from one side to the other in thin slices. Repeat with the other half.
Drop the asparagus and onion slices into a zipper bag and drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of good sesame oil. Sprinkle in about 2 teaspoons of coarse salt. Please invest in a good sesame oil; some of them on the shelf are weakly flavored. Spend a little for the real flavor.
Seal the bag and gently turn it over several times to coat the contents with the oil and salt evenly. Be careful not to shake the bag roughly, causing the ends of the spears to come off.
Set the bag on the counter or a refrigerator shelf for an hour or so. Turn it periodically so the oil coats everything and imparts the sesame flavor.
About 10 minutes before serving, pre-heat your grill or a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the asparagus, turning frequently. Grill the asparagus for 5 minutes before putting the onions on the grill. The onions will burn if you put them on at the same time as the asparagus. Serve the onions over the asparagus while both are still hot.
Optionally, you can sprinkle the finished dish with a few sesame seeds or toasted pine nuts. Keep this one in your bag of tricks and you can dress up any meal.
Asparagus, Grilled Sesame, and White Onions Recipe
Wash and trim the asparagus.
Peel and french cut the onion.
Marinate asparagus and onions in a zipper bag with sesame oil and salt for at least an hour, turning several times.
Preheat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Start grilling asparagus first.
After 5 minutes, add onions to the pan.
Once everything is crisp-tender, remove from heat and sprinkle with sesame seeds or toasted pine nuts for garnish, if desired.
This recipe works equally well with white asparagus or green beans instead of green asparagus.
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