There are two major categories in Japanese salads — sunomono (“vinegared things”) and aemono (“dressed things”). This crisp asparagus salad falls under aemono where a simple dressing of Japanese mustard, egg yolk, and soy sauce is applied sparingly, just enough to provide that distinctive mustard heat.
recipe adapted from Shizuo Tsuji’s Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art
Asparagus with Mustard Dressing
アスパラガス辛子あえ (Asuparagasu Karashi-Ae)
20 asparagus spears, trimmed and pared
For the Mustard Dressing:
2 teaspoons Japanese mustard powder + 2 teaspoons water
1 egg yolk
1 tsp soy sauce
dried bonito flakes /katsuo-bushi (optional)
- Substitute 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard for the Japanese mustard powder mixture.
Cut the asparagus into 1 to 2-inch lengths. Prepare a bowl filled with iced water.
Blanche/parboil the asparagus in lightly salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Shock the asparagus in the bowl of iced water to stop the cooking and lock in the bright green color.
If using the Japanese mustard powder, mix with 2 teaspoons of water in a bowl to make a paste and let stand for about 10 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk and the soy sauce with the mustard. Sprinkle the mustard dressing with dried bonito flakes if using. Toss the asparagus in the bowl with the mustard dressing and serve at room temperature.