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