Really good with Korean Ssamjang as a dip.
Ssam Jang Sauce
1/4 cup of soybean paste (Korean-doenjang/Japanese-Miso)
1/2 cup gochujang (Korean chili paste) **
1 fresh red chili pepper
1 fresh green chili pepper
4 cloves garlic
2 green/spring onion
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
water as needed
** gochujang substitute
**1/3 cup fine or medium ground dried red chili pepper
**6 cloves fresh garlic
**1/4 small white or yellow onion
**1 teaspoon sugar
**1 tablespoon of sesame oil
**1 tablespoon rice wine
**3 tablespoon soy sauce
**water as needed
Any Korean grilled or stir fried meat dish like Bulgogi
4 bunches red leaf lettuce (or other large leaf vegetable)
"sticky" rice (Link)
6 cloves garlic
5 fresh jalapeño peppers
[**Mix gochujang substitute if needed
Place onion, peeled garlic cloves, and soy sauce in a blender and blend until liquified (add a small amount of water if needed).
Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and mix well.
Add just enough water to be able to mix. The result should be a very thick paste that must be spooned from the bowl.]
Finely chop (mince) the garlic, chili peppers, and green onion.
In a small mixing bowl, add all Ssam jang ingredients and mix well.
Add a small amount of water if needed to maintain a mixable paste.
Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Separate lettuce leaves, rinse, and drain. Gently pat dry and place on a serving plate.
Thin slice the garlic and peppers, and place in separate small dishes.
Serve with a grilled meat or fish main dish and one bowl of rice for each diner.
How to Eat
Take one lettuce leaf and place in the palm of one hand, add a small spoonful of rice, a piece meat from the meat dish, slice of pepper and garlic, a piece of kimchi, and a dab of the Ssam jang. Close the leaf into a ball and eat the whole roll in one bite. A little practice may be needed to get that "one mouth full" size right.
May also be used as a dip for steamed or grilled firm vegetables like asparagus, carrot, bok choy, celery, etc.
Doesn;t it depend on the other things on the plate? Jfood uses asparagus as a side for both taste, texture and color so depending on the main partof the entree, this would guide the what to top the apsragus. That beingsaid, jfood loves just a little seasoning for asparagus, a little salt and maybe lemon if the lemon wouldn't fight theother parts of the plate. In Germany during white asparaus season jfodd just ordered a large plate of the yummies and took his knife and fork and enjoyed. One of the most memorable meals in Germany.
One more suggestion, but it requires a bunch of advance planning. In Vienna there is a vinegar distillery, Gegenbauer, that makes vinegar out of all kinds of vegetables -- including asparagus. Their asparagus vinegar, mixed with a bit of melted butter, is great on asparagus. So what you do is, go to the Naschmarkt in Vienna, pick up a bottle of this vinegar, bring it home ... well, you get the picture.
1. When you take the asparagus off the grill, immediately put it into a gallon-size sealable plastic bag into which you have previously put a clove or so of finely minced garlic and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Seal the bag up, shake it gently to coat the asparagus, and put it aside. Serve the asparagus at room temperature.
2. Poach an egg (or two) and put it (or them) on top of the grilled asparagus. When you bring it to the table, puncture the yolk(s) and let it (or them) ooze down on the asparagus. No other sauce required, except maybe some pepper.
3. You say that home-made Hollandaise is too hard, but if you have a blender you're wrong about that. You put 3 egg yolks, 2 TBSP of lemon juice, a little salt and a little red (cayenne) pepper into the blender container. You put a stick of butter (1/2 cup) into a Pyrex measuring cup, and zap it at about half power in the microwave oven until it's melted and bubbling -- or, in the alternative, do this on the stovetop. Then you turn on the blender at low speed, and after a few seconds SLOWLY pour the very hot melted butter through the hole in the top of the blender lid -- taking about 20 - 30 seconds to pour it in. The hot butter cooks the egg yolks, and the blender makes the sauce. It's not quite as dense as Hollandaise made the traditional way, but it's dang close and it's great on asparagus. Or on any other vegetable. Hell, it's great on Cheerios.
I don't suppose you'd feel up to the challenge of making a homemade mayonnaise? All you need is a food processor (or a whisk and a strong arm).. it's super-easy!
The only thing that's better than plain grilled asparagus hot off the grill is cold grilled asparagus with a thin mayo (the real stuff, not Hellman's).
I agree that you really don't need any sauce if they are grilled, but that being said, this Barefoot Contessa shallot sauce is excellent on asparagus as well as string beans (which the recipe calls for).
I have even made the sauce a day ahead and reheated it in the microwave.