This is an excellent recipe to take advantage of fresh asparagus which is available almost year-round these days. However, if necessary, you may use frozen asparagus. The sauce has the citrus tang and slight sweetness of orange juice plus the richness of a good balsamic vinegar boiled down into a luscious syrup. A little sprinkle of sesame seeds is the icing on the cake. This is so simple to make, yet so elegant.
Toast sesame seeds in a dry frypan until lightly golden and fragrant. Set aside.
Whisk together orange juice, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Pour into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until reduced by half. it should be thickened and almost syrupy. Set aside.
Steam asparagus on a rack in a covered pot for 3 to 5 minutes, until you can easily pierce the thickest part of the stalk with a knife tip, but it is still firm and colorful.
Top steamed asparagus with a drizzle of the reduced vinaigrette and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
Note: A good quality aged balsamic vinegar is thick and rich with deep flavor. If you use a lesser quality, you may need to boil the sauce longer to reduce it.
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