California asparagus make this stir-fry especially colorful, fresh, and fit for spring. For a vegetarian version, substitute firm tofu for the shrimp.
- 1 dozen medium to large shrimp, about ½ pound (225 g), peeled and deveined
- Kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 pound (225 g) medium asparagus
- 4 tablespoons (60 ml) peanut oil
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten with ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (200 g) thinly sliced leeks, white and pale green parts only
- 4 cups (1 l) cold cooked medium-grain rice
- 1/3 cup (35 g) toasted slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon Chinese sesame oil with red chili
- 1 cup (15 g) whole cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish.
Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish
Season the shrimp with ½ teaspoon salt and set aside.
To trim the asparagus, hold each spear horizontally between both hands and bend it. It will snap naturally at the point at which the spear becomes tough. Discard the tough ends. Slice the spears on the diagonal about ½-inch (1 cm) wide, leaving the tips whole.
Heat a wok over high heat until a drop of water evaporates on contact. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil and swirl to coat the wok. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until they just turn pink; leave them slightly underdone as they will cook further when stir-fried with the rice. Transfer the shrimp to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon peanut oil. When the oil is hot, add the beaten eggs. They should sizzle and puff without browning. Let them set for about 10 seconds, then push any cooked egg to one side of the wok and let the uncooked egg pool in the center of the wok. Continue cooking, adjusting the heat to prevent browning and pushing cooked egg to one side until all of the egg has just barely set. The eggs should be moist and slightly runny as they will cook more when stir-fried with the rice. Scrape them onto a plate, chop very coarsely with a spatula, and wipe the wok clean.
Return the wok to high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil. When the oil is hot, add the asparagus and leeks. Season with salt. Stir-fry until the asparagus is almost tender, about 1-1/2 minutes. Return the shrimp to the skillet and give everything a toss, then add the rice. Season with more salt and stir-fry until the rice is hot throughout, about 1 minute. Add the cooked eggs, ¼ cup (30 g) almonds and the spicy sesame oil and toss briskly once or twice, then remove from the heat. Taste for salt. Add the cilantro and toss to distribute it, then transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish the top with more cilantro leaves and the remaining toasted almonds. Serve immediately.