Bazhe Sauce with Asparagus


  • 1 lb. Walnut halves
  • 6 Saffron threads
  • 3-1/2 T Pomegranate molasses, divided use
  • 2-1/2 T Salt, divided use
  • 1 T Coriander, ground
  • 1/4 tsp. Smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. Dried marigold leaves and/or flowers, ground
  • 2 c Extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for grilling
  • 1 lb. Asparagus, woody ends removed


Blanch walnuts in boiling water, 1 minute. Drain and shock, and cover with water overnight. Soak saffron in 2 cups water overnight.

Strain walnuts and process with saffron water, 2-1⁄2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, 1-1⁄2 tablespoons of salt, coriander, paprika and marigold in a blender until smooth. Drizzle in olive oil.

Season the asparagus with remaining tablespoon salt, remaining pomegranate molasses and some olive oil. Cook on a grill or in a sauté pan over high heat until charred and tender.

To serve, pool sauce on a plate, add asparagus and drizzle on top if desired. Garnish with fresh marigold leaves and flowers. 

Chef Zach Engel, Galit, Chicago, Illinois, from Food Fanatics® magazine