Fresh asparagus stars in a quick-cooking, citrusy stir-fry with salmon

Ann Maloney

THE WASHINGTON POST – Eating foods in season isn’t always possible, but when it is, it can make such a difference in availability, price and flavour.

Fortunately, asparagus are available year-round, and even if grocery-store stalks might be a bit tougher, they are excellent contenders for a quick and flavourful stir-fry like this one below. Just look for the stalks to be firm with closed tips.

Serve the stir-fry with your favourite protein.


Seared Salmon With Citrus Asparagus Stir-Fry. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

35 minutes

Four servings

A simple seared salmon fillet turns this light spring stir-fry into a meal.



Three cloves garlic, divided

One medium jalapeño chile peppers, seeded and thinly sliced

One tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

One pound asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced on a diagonal about half-inch pieces

Quarter teaspoon kosher salt

One tablespoon soy sauce

Three tablespoons lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

One teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

Half cup fresh cilantro

Two teaspoons toasted sesame seeds


Four skin-on salmon fillets

Two tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided

Two teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Freshly ground black pepper

Lemon wedges for serving


Make the stir-fry: Slice two cloves of garlic into thin slices. Mince or grate the remaining one clove.

Heat a large, dry skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on the surface. Add the jalapeño, sliced garlic and olive oil, stirring constantly, until the garlic just begins to turn golden, about two minutes. Add the asparagus. Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook, tossing occasionally, until the asparagus begins to brown around the edges, two to three minutes.

Add the soy sauce and two tablespoons of the lemon juice and cook, stirring constantly, until the asparagus is coated in sauce, but still crispy, about one minute.

Add the minced garlic, lemon zest, the remaining one tablespoon lemon juice and the ginger. Toss to combine and cook, continuing to toss for one minute, or until ginger is fragrant.

Remove the pan from heat. Transfer asparagus to a platter and toss with cilantro and sesame seeds.

Make the salmon: Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. Rub the sesame oil over both sides of each fillet. Season the skin side with a pinch of salt.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles when it hits the surface. Add the fillets, skin side up and cook until just lightly browned, one to two minutes. Turn the fillets over and reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle the fillets with ground pepper.

Cook until the salmon looks almost cooked through, two to four minutes; you can check using the tip of a sharp knife or just by looking at the sides of each fillet, where you should see a slightly darker centre. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fillet and the desired doneness. Remove the fish from the skillet and keep warm.

Divide the asparagus among four plates and top each with a salmon fillet. Serve with additional lemon on the side, if desired.

Nutrition | Calories: 381; Total Fat: 27g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 60mg; Sodium: 404mg; Carbohydrates: 8g; Dietary Fibre: 3g; Sugars: 3g; Protein: 27g.