Asparagus with ponzu sauce

Spring is just about here, and that means it’s time for fresh asparagus. I recommend blanching the cut spears for just about a minute, certainly no longer than that, and then cooling them in cold running water so that they turn bright green but retain a healthy crunch.

Fresh asparagus with ponzu sauce

Fresh asparagus with ponzu sauce

Ponzu sauce is worth getting to know if you’re unfamiliar with it. It’s basically soy sauce with citrus juice and rice wine. Tossing the asparagus in the ponzu helps bring out its natural flavor.


  1. 1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut diagonally into 3″ lengths, woody ends discarded; blanched very briefly (between 45 seconds and 1 minute), then drained in a colander and rinsed with cold water to stop further cooking
  2. 1 Tbsp ponzu sauce
  3. 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish


  • Toss the blanched asparagus (#1) with the ponzu sauce (#2) and then remove to a serving dish.
  • Garnish with the sesame seeds (#3). Serve as a snack or as part of a larger meal.

Variations: Using lightly crushed sesame seeds and substituting regular soy sauce for ponzu sauce makes a more savory dish, and that recipe is here.

The essential Chinese pantry is here.

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