Polishing Off a Side Dish

June 6, 2010


I’m back from an amazing week in the state of Massachusetts.  When we weren’t pahking the cah in Hahvahd Yahd, we were traipsing around the lovely crooked streets of Provincetown, and being shown incredible East coast beaches by our friend Maryann.  It was so nice to see the sun, walk out in the evening without a jacket (!) and to realize that the very difficult times of traveling with small children are almost behind us.  It wasn’t easy, but both the flights and all the transitions (cabs, ferries, cars, ferries, cabs again – it wasn’t us pahking the cah in Hahvahd Yahd) went smoothly.  I actually read almost the whole way to and from Massachusetts.  Yahoo!

Oh yes, and I got a tattoo.  I so wanted to post a photo today but it is in the process of losing the scab which looks about as attractive as it sounds.  Story coming after healing process is over.  From the precious few people who have seen it (including Erin who I got to meet over coffee), I have gotten thumbs up.

I made this wonderful side dish before we left and just didn’t have time to write about it.  Often when I am making Asian food, I will just steam some broccoli to serve on the side.  I could eat my weight in steamed broccoli but when I made these noodles, I wanted something with a little more oomph.  In case you have never had asparagus together with shiitake mushrooms in a soy sauce spiked dressing, I highly encourage that you try it.   The recipe said 8 to 10 servings but 5 of us polished it off even with a little fighting over the last few asparagus spears.  The dressing might sound a bit odd – tarragon in a Asian inspired side? – but it worked beautifully in this dish.  If you live in a climate where you can stand outside and grill without looking like the victim of a flood, then I highly recommend the grill rather than the safe-and-dry oven inside that I had to use.

One Year Ago:  Mexican Pizza with Corn and Tomatillos
Two Years Ago:  Gazpacho (still my tried and true recipe)

Asparagus and Grilled Shiitake with Soy Vinaigrette
Adapted from Food and Wine
Serves 8-10 (not in my family)

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. chopped tarragon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ pounds fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
2 pounds thin asparagus

Light a grill.  In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, and tarragon and season with salt and pepper.

Brush the shiitake with 2 tablespoons of the soy vinaigrette; season with salt and pepper.  Grill over moderate heat, turning once, until just tender, about 6 minutes.  (DT: I roasted them in a 400° oven until they had absorbed the marinade and were tender, about 10 minutes.)  Transfer the shiitakes to a bowl; cut any large mushrooms into quarters.

bring a large skillet of salted water to a boil.  Fill a large bowl with ice water.  Add the asparagus to the skillet and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to the ice water to cool.  Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Arrange the asparagus on a platter.  Drizzle with about half the remaining dressing.  Spoon the shiitakes over the asparagus followed by the rest of the dressing.  Serve right away.

(Make ahead: The dressing, grilled shiitakes, and blanched asparagus can each be refrigerated separately overnight.  Reheat the shiitake in a 400° oven for about 4 minutes and bring the asparagus and dressing to room temperature before serving.)


  1. Ah…those are my old stomping grounds. I went to graduate school in Boston and would love heading to Provincetown in the summers. There’s something very special about the light there and the morning air. Anyway, a tattoo?! How cool. Looking forward to seeing it. And this Asparagus looks lovely. Beautiful photos.

    Comment by Megan Gordon — June 6, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

  2. LOL… Love your east-coast accent.

    This is a delicious looking recipe!

    Comment by Mags — June 7, 2010 @ 2:10 am

  3. I went to Provincetown for the first time the weekend after I took my MCATs. My best friend and I thought it would be fun to go on a mini-vacation and it was a blast! I miss it there!

    I’m glad to hear you had a good time and I can’t wait to see that tattoo :P

    I don’t think I’ve ever had asparagus with an Asian-based sauced. Sounds delicious!

    Comment by Joanne — June 7, 2010 @ 3:19 am

  4. I can’t wait to see your tattoo! Glad you had a great vacation. I could eat my weight in asparagus!

    Comment by Jacqui — June 7, 2010 @ 4:20 am

  5. Mmmmmm, that looks divine. I haven’t had any asparagus this season. My hubby says he doesn’t like it, but I don’t know how that can be.

    It sounds like the travelling went smoothly. I am not looking forward to flying with a baby.

    Comment by Jacqueline — June 7, 2010 @ 8:11 am

  6. Lovely side dish. DYING to see your tattoo! Do YOU like it?

    Comment by Koek! — June 7, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

  7. Look at you, back home safely & already blogging! Yes, the tattoo does look amazing and I am glad I got to see it (and you!) in person. Since grilling season began I have had an addiction to grilled asparagus tossed with a bit of Italian dressing. I know I will love this!

    Comment by fresh365 — June 7, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

  8. Love this dish and I can’t wait to see your tattoo:)

    Comment by Maria — June 7, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

  9. I love, love the mix of asparagus, mushrooms, and soy sauce. I’m curious about the tarragon, and I’m going to have to try it.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — June 7, 2010 @ 8:40 pm

  10. MMM, that looks so good. Black Bottle in Seattle has a great mushroom and butter bean dish that is lovely.

    Comment by peabody — June 7, 2010 @ 9:27 pm

  11. Welcome back! This looks delicious. I had an asparagus/shitake number at The Tin Table on Capitol Hill that was divine. It’s a great combo.

    Comment by The Leftoverist — June 7, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

  12. Dana, I’m so glad you had a great week in MA. You sure had great weather! And I adore your recipe (we both have asparagus on the brain I see!)… May your tattoo heal FAST dear and looking forward to your photo and post.

    Comment by Viviane Bauquet Farre / food & style — June 7, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

  13. Happy to hear you had a good vacation and how exciting about your tattoo! Looking forward to seeing photos of it. This looks like a delicious side dish. I can’t get enough asparagus!

    Comment by Ashley — June 17, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

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