Asparagus Salad

Lusun Skala

Preparation info

    Appears in

    Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook

    By Ellen Schrecker

    Published 1976

    • About

    Flavor: UniqueMeal: Easy, Cold

    Asparagus reached the Orient only recently; it was unknown in the Szechwanese countryside when Mrs. Chiang was a girl. But, since one of the great strengths of a talented Chinese home cook is her ability to work with new ingredients, Mrs. Chiang managed to devise the perfect combination of condiments for a spicy and refreshing asparagus salad.

    Quick and easy to make, this salad can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for several hours before serving. Be forewarned: raw garlic and hot pepper flakes make this a powerful dish whose memory will linger on your breath for hours.

    Method

    Preparation

    1 pound asparagus Wash the asparagus carefully, then cut off the tough ends and slice each stalk into 2-inch lengths.
    2 scallions Clean the scallions, then chop them, both white part and green, into tiny pieces, about the size of a match head.

    6 to 7 cloves garlic

    1-inch piece fresh ginger

    ½ teaspoon salt

    Peel the garlic and ginger and chop them rather coarsely. Put them in a steep-sided bowl or a mortar, then add the salt and, using the handle of your cleaver, a wooden spoon, or a pestle, mash the chopped garlic and ginger together until they become a coarse paste. (The addition of the salt during the process of pulverizing the garlic and ginger not only enhances their flavors, but also ensures your extracting the maximum amount of juice from the raw vegetables.)

    Cooking

    (asparagus)

    1-½ to 2 quarts water

    ½ teaspoon granulated sugar

    ½ teaspoon salt

    2-½ tablespoons soy sauce

    1 teaspoon sesame oil

    1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

    1-½ teaspoons hot pepper flakes in oil

    ½ teaspoon ground, roasted Szechwan peppercorns

    (garlic and ginger)

    Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan and drop the asparagus pieces in. When the water boils again, lower the heat and cook the asparagus, uncovered, until it is tender but not mushy; this should only take about 10 minutes. Drain the asparagus and put it in a serving dish.

    Add the sugar, salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, hot pepper flakes in oil, and Szechwan peppercorns to the mashed garlic and ginger. Mix thoroughly, then pour over the warm asparagus. Make sure all the asparagus is covered with the sauce, then serve.