Serves 4


This is a good way to use the oriental-tasting white asparagus shoots (below). We have it on the menu at Bam Bou in Percy Street in London and we change the asparagus according to what's around. It may be wild, it may be white and green or just a mixture of several types. Black fungus is normally sold dried in oriental supermarkets and occasionally fresh as Jew's Ears. If you can't find them then the more easily available shiitake or another Oriental fungus will do.

60g dried black fungus, soaked for 24 hours in water
600g asparagus, green and white or some wild if you can get it, trimmed and cooked as above
30g white asparagus shoots (optional)

for the dressing

1tsp finely chopped lemongrass bulb
1tsp finely chopped root ginger
1tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2tbsp mirin (optional)
4tbsp sunflower oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Simmer the black fungus in salted water for 1 hour then drain them in a colander. Cut the asparagus in half if they are long and put them into a bowl with the black fungus and asparagus shoots. The black fungus may need cutting into smaller pieces if they are large. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Toss the asparagus and mushrooms with the dressing and season if necessary. Serve as a starter or a side dish as part of an Oriental meal.

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