Asparagus must have hit its second wind here in New England (maybe the greenhouse crops?), but I've been seeing it on sale for quite a decent price lately!
This yummy Chinese dish cooks up really fast, and is low in fat and high in protein. What it lacks in authenticity, it makes up for in Sheer Tastiness.
Aunt LoLo's Black Bean Asparagus with Tofu
1/2 block firm tofu
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 pound asparagus
1/2 tsp. black bean and garlic sauce (available at asian markets)
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. oyster sauce
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup Szechuan Preserved Vegetables (in the canned pickle aisle, at asian markets)
1) Prepare the asparagus. Rinse the stalks and snap the woody ends off. Cut the asparagus into 1" pieces and set aside.
2) Prepare the tofu. Cut the 1/2 block into 1/2" slices, and then cut those slices into 1/2" stripes, and then those strips into 1/2" pieces. (Did you catch all that? Just chop it up, ya'know?)
3) Prepare your seasonings. Rinse the Preserved Vegetables, and roughly chop. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup water with the cornstarch, black bean sauce, soy sauce, sugar and oyster sauce. Set aside.
4) In a small pot, heat up your olive oil until it starts to shimmer. Add in your preserved vegetables and cook until fragrant. Add the tofu and stir. Add the asparagus and 1/4" of water. Cover and steam until the asparagus is just barely tender, about 3 minutes.
5) Remove the lid and add your cornstarch slurry. (Be sure to give it a good stir before you pour it in.) Stir and continue cooking until the sauce comes to a boil and starts to thicken, about 1 minute.
Serve over rice.