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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chilled Asparagus with Wasabi Dipping Sauce

If you are looking for an easy, healthy, and elegant holiday appetizer, look no further. This recipe for chilled asparagus with Wasabi dipping sauce has to be one of the simplest and most elegant appetizers I know. Since I first learned the recipe from my mother-in-law, this has become a family favorite. We served it last year at our New Year's party to rave reviews. People simply could not believe how perfectly the Wasabi complements the earthy asparagus. This unusual taste combination puts together the natural healthfulness of asparagus (conveniently packaged as nature's finger-food) with the big taste of Wasabi. The flavorful addition of Wasabi means that this dipping sauce is an instant healthy indulgence: a little bit of this dipping sauce goes a long way.

The asparagus can be steamed in advance but should be removed while still bright green and not limp. Mist lightly with lemon juice and water to retain the color and store in the fridge until you are ready to serve. The dipping sauce can be whipped up in minutes. It is simple and healthy but unusual and elegant...which in my book makes it a perfect holiday appetizer.

I'm submitting this for the final Weekend Herb Blogging of the year, hosted by Paulchen's Food Blog.


1 pound of fresh asparagus spears, trimmed, steamed and chilled
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 cup of Greek style yogurt, or sour cream
1/8 tsp salt
Wasabi powder or paste to taste

Trim the asparagus spears. I know some people hold to the idea that you should bend the fresh spears until they break and then discard the bottom part. I find this wasteful and based on my reading of chefs I admire, I can't really find substantial support for the method. So I recommend a simple trimming of the bottom inch of the stalk. Check to be sure the remaining portion is not too woody. If it appears very fibrous and woody, trim further. Steam until still firm and bright green. Do not allow them to become limp or greyish. Mist lightly with a combination of lemon juice and water. Store in the fridge.

Combine mayo, yogurt, salt and Wasabi. I recommend beginning with 1 tsp of Wasabi powder and increasing in small increments until it meets your taste. The potency of dried Wasabi can vary considerably, to progress carefully. I actually enjoy combining with the prepared Wasabi paste so often served with sushi. However at the holidays I advocate using whatever is conveniently at-hand.

If you can find thick Greek-style yogurt, either the full fat or reduced fat kind will work well. If you cannot find it, do not use regular unflavored yogurt, the consistency is too thin. Instead, substitute in sour cream.

Depending on your taste for mayo, some readers may prefer using slightly more mayo than yogurt.


swirlingnotions said...

Erin . . . I'm so glad I found your blog! I love your philosophy and live by a very similiar one myself.

This recipe looks delicious . . . I dab the Spectrum Organic Wasabi Mayonnaise (very good stuff made from very good ingredients) on ahi burgers often, but have never thought of pairing wasabi with asparagus.

You've got me intriuged with Ghana . . . I'll have to dig in further when I have more time to stick around!

Lia (

Kalyn Denny said...

I think the combination of asparagus and this wasabi-flavored dip sounds just wonderful. I love wasabi, although I keep reading that the wasabi that we get in the U.S. with sushi is not the real thing!

Helene said...

haven´t been around your blog for some time. And it´s amazing what you choose to combine.
Thanks for introducing a new variation to me. Will taste it next spring.

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