Sesame Stir-Fried Asparagus

Using cornstarch to thicken sauces is an idea borrowed from Chinese cuisine. It's a good trick to remember when you want to give a low-fat sauce the "mouth feel" of a high-fat sauce.

1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced scallions
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2-1/2 pounds asparagus cut into 2-inch pieces (5-1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 In a small bowl, blend the water and cornstarch.
2 In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallions, ginger, and garlic, and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3 Add the asparagus and stir-fry until the asparagus turns bright green, about 1 minute.
4 Add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Cover and steam over medium-high heat until the asparagus is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
5 Meanwhile, in a small skillet, stir the sesame seeds over medium heat until toasted, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer from the skillet to a plate.
6 Add the sesame oil to the asparagus and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with the salt, and toss to combine. Serve the asparagus sprinkled with the toasted sesame seeds.

Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 93 calories, 6g total fat (0.8g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 3.4g dietary fiber, 8g carbohydrate, 4g protein, 172mg sodium.