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In spring, when plump, fresh asparagus is in season, I like to prepare this dish to serve as a hearty lunch or light supper. Separately, the components are not extraordinary, but together they become elegant and impressive when tastefully layered, sauced, and presented as an open-faced sandwich. Served with a salad and a cup of herbal tea, this asparagus treat a hearty meal to enjoy with gusto.
SAUCY ASPARAGUS ON TOAST
Yield: 4 servings
2 bunches plump asparagus, tough ends trimmed
4 slices whole grain bread
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) prepared or homemade hummus
2 to 3 tablespoons diced tomato, for garnish
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley, for garnish
1 tablespoon finely minced red cabbage, for garnish
- TO MAKE THE CREEM SAUCE, combine the soymilk, nutritional yeast, salt, five-spice powder, and pepper to taste in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately, reduce the heat to medium and simmer 1 minute. Watch carefully to avoid a messy boil-over.
- Combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl or cup and stir to form a runny paste. Add the paste to the gently bubbling sauce and stir continuously for about 1 minute until the sauce thickens. For a thicker sauce, stir the remaining 1 tablespoon each of cornstarch and water until smooth. Add the mixture to the gently bubbling sauce and stir continuously until the sauce is thickened. Keep the sauce warm over low heat while preparing the asparagus.
- TO MAKE THE OPEN-FACED SANDWICH, put the trimmed asparagus spears in a 3 or 4-quart (3 or 4 liter) saucepan with about one-half-inch (1 cm) of water in the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately, reduce the heat to low and steam the asparagus for about 4 minutes, or until the spears are fork tender.
- Meanwhile, spread a thick layer of hummus over each bread slice and place each slice on a separate plate.
- Arrange the asparagus spears close together over the hummus-covered bread and top with a generous quantity of the warm Creem Sauce.
- TO GARNISH, place a teaspoon of the diced tomatoes over each sandwich and sprinkle the parsley and red cabbage around the dish to form an attractive border.
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