Asparagus, beef in zesty stir-fry


Asparagus spears, vividly green and crisp, offer a textural contrast to beef's chewy plushness in this quick, zesty stir-fry. Chili paste adds zip while a spritz of fresh orange juice offers a touch of sweetness.

If you like, round out the meal with products from your local Chinese takeout or grocery. Delicate spring rolls and scallion pancakes reheated in the oven make festive starters.

Bill Daley writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe and analysis.

Menu suggestion

Spring rolls

Scallion pancakes

Spicy beef with asparagus and mushrooms

Steamed rice

Mango sorbet

Spicy Beef With Asparagus and Mushrooms

Serves 2 -- Total time: 27 minutes

1 New York strip steak, about 8 ounces, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons each: orange juice, soy sauce

1 tablespoon each: olive oil, chili paste

3 green onions, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 piece (1-inch long) ginger root, minced

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, cut on the diagonal into 1 1/2 -inch pieces

1 package (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms

Place steak slices, orange juice and soy sauce in a medium bowl; toss to coat.

Heat oil in large wok or skillet. Add chili paste, green onions, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add beef and marinade; stir-fry until nearly cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove beef to a plate.

Add more oil to wok if necessary; add asparagus. Stir-fry until the color brightens and the spears are still slightly crunchy, about 4 minutes. Remove to a plate. Add mushrooms to wok; stir-fry until browned, about 4 minutes.

Reduce heat to low; return all ingredients to the wok. Simmer 1 minute to meld flavors.

Per serving: 499 calories, 30 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 90 milligrams cholesterol, 21 grams carbohydrate, 40 grams protein, 1,180 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber

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