I loved all of my Chef instructors at culinary school, but my favorite was definitely Chef Chris. I’ll never forget the time when we had to come up with three ways to use scallops. My inspiration had hit early and I was done first. He loved my plate of scallops and said since I was done early I had to make him an asparagus dish to go with the scallops. My gut reaction was to protest that I shouldn’t have to do an extra dish just because I was done early. He saw it on my face because I have no poker face whatsoever. I blame doing theater. In the no-nonsense but good-humored way that only he could do, he said to me “Leigh, get over yourself and just go cook. That’s why you’re here isn’t it”. There was no arguing with that so I said “Yes, Chef” and scurried back to my station. I made him this Asian roasted asparagus. It really came out like this because I already had the simple ingredients out from making the scallops!
All I did was quickly blanch my asparagus first in salted boiling water for not even a minute. Then I transferred it directly into an ice bath to stop the cooking.
Once the asparagus was blanched, I laid it out on a sheet tray lined with foil. Then I poured the most flavorful, simple dressing over it made of sesame oil, soy sauce, Sriracha and salt.
I made sure the asparagus was thoroughly coated in that glorious dressing before getting it into my oven for 15 minutes.
Once it was done, I just let the Asian roasted asparagus cool for a minute before serving. Then for extra flavor I garnished it with black sesame seeds on top. Oh my goodness, it took me right back to that day at school. The asparagus was perfectly tender, not limp or soggy. The Asian flavors worked so well with it. So here’s to the wonderful Chef Chris. He just won Culinary Educator of the Year and rightly so. He always pushes his students to be the best they could be and learn as much as possible. I’ll be forever thankful for that!