Side dish

Stir-fried Asparagus and Shitake Mushrooms

Don’t wait for Spring asparagus to make this!

The holidays are behind us (that was fast) and if you are looking for some healthy recipes to try beginning the new year, this should be one of them.

My son, Paul, made the best prime rib roast for Christmas dinner. He made a pesto of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme plus some garlic and he put that all over the roast before cooking. Normally I would use just the fresh herbs and place below and on top of the roast or tenderloin but now I see how making the pesto gets the flavor more into the meat and I will continue using this method when cooking steaks, tenderloins or prime rib roast. This asparagus shiitake dish was perfect with the beef.

We all learn by making mistakes; I’ve made my share for sure and I usually don’t make the mistake twice. America’s Test Kitchen helps with solving some of our cooking problems. I love American Test Kitchen on PBS; and I have to say, even at my age I always learn something new. The show usually starts with Christopher Kimball who is the editor-in-chief for Cook’s Illustrated magazine showing a few different recipes and the problem in making them. ATK does all the testing of the recipes and finally the recipe they present to you is one they feel solves the problem people may have with cooking certain items.

For example, this stir-fried asparagus is not cooked in a wok. Even though I have three woks I was interested in trying this in a normal skillet. On the show that day they explained how cooking in a wok only cooks on the bottom so you have to continue tossing the food to brown everything. By doing this dish in a skillet (I used my 13″ All Clad) more of the vegetables touch the bottom of the pan and you don’t stir for a few minutes so the asparagus and mushrooms brown before being stirred around.

So, if you don’t have a wok for this stir-fry dish, don’t fret, just use a skillet.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Game Hens with Tangerine Sauce was first posted back in 2011. If you are looking for something new to try with those little tiny hens, give this a try.


Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and slice.


Slice the asparagus in 2″ lengths on the diagonal. You don’t want really thin or really fat asparagus; you want it “just right”.


Add the vegetable oil to the skillet and heat until it starts to shimmer; then add in the asparagus and mushrooms and let set there 3-4 minutes until they start to brown on the bottom.


After your vegetables start to brown some, add in the soy mixture and cook a few more minutes.


Transfer to serving dish and garnish with the sliced scallions. I used the white and the green parts.

Stir-Fried Asparagus with Shiitake Mushrooms
A beautiful side dish to any meal.
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  1. 2 Tbsp. water
  2. 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  3. 1 Tbsp. dry sherry
  4. 2 tsp. packed brown sugar
  5. 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  6. 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  7. 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  8. 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut on bias into 2" lengths
  9. 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
  10. 2 scallions, green parts only, sliced thinly on bias
  1. Combine water, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, ginger and sesame oil in a bowl.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking. Add asparagus and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is spotty brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture and cook, stirring once or twice, until pan is almost dry and asparagus is crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with scallion greens, and serve.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated May 2013
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated May 2013
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