After seeing most of May in cooler temperatures and sporadic downpours, it feels like New York has been suddenly thrown into the middle of summer. It's been in the high 80s and low 90s for the past few days, and even hotter in my apartment. I'm refilling the ice cube trays about 5 times a day. I fantasize about seeing some blockbuster in the theater just to spend 2 hours in a cool room. I'm trying to hold off on turning on the AC for as long as possible, but it's likely my resolve will break soon.
A few days ago I had bought a bunch of asparagus and radishes, fully intent on roasting them for a nice spring side dish. But it was way too hot to turn on the oven. Instead, I decided to do something similar to a Japanese dish of blanched green beans with sesame-miso dressing. The asparagus was easy enough, since you just blanch it for 2 minutes or less. As for the radishes, I'm used to eating them raw, but sautéing them on the stove with butter for a mere 5 minutes gives them a nice tenderness without being overly softened.
For the dressing, I just mixed some red miso paste with mirin and sugar and heated the dressing up just until thickened. (You can also use sake and add about 1/2 teaspoon more sugar to match for the sweetness in the mirin.) The total time in front of the stove was about 10 minutes. So if it's already super hot where you live, and you're still trying to hold on to spring and want a new way to cook asparagus and radishes, try out this recipe and let me know how it goes!
Asparagus and Radishes with Sesame-Miso Dressing
Serves 4 as a side
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
- 1/2 pound radishes, trimmed and quartered
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red miso paste
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon white sesame seeds
- Cook the asparagus: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the asparagus for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, then immediately remove, drain, and rinse under cold water. Drain well and transfer to a serving dish.
- Cook the radishes: Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the butter. Once the butter has melted and has started to foam, add the radishes. Lower the heat to medium-low. Sauté the radishes for about 5 minutes, until sides have begun to brown and a fork pierces easily through. Transfer the radishes to the serving plate.
- Prepare the dressing: In a small saucepan, combine the miso paste and mirin. Heat over low to medium heat and stir with a spoon just until the texture is smooth and the dressing is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat and stir in the sugar and sesame oil.
- Drizzle the sesame-miso dressing over the vegetables. Sprinkle white sesame seeds on top and serve.