Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes, plus infusing time for the sauce
Serve over jasmine rice, if desired. Recipe adapted from "La Tartine Gourmande" by Beatrice Peltre (Roost, $35, 320 pages).
For the sauce:
1 1/2 cups carrot juice, preferably freshly pressed
One 1-inch piece peeled ginger root, sliced crosswise
1 stalk lemon grass, outer leaves discarded, the remaining core thinly sliced
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange, preferably organic
1 medium clove garlic, sliced
Juice of 1 medium lime (1 to 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon light muscovado sugar (may substitute light brown sugar)
1/2 cup coconut milk (may use low-fat coconut milk)
Dash cayenne pepper
16 to 18 medium stalks asparagus, tough ends trimmed off
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups cooked jasmine rice (optional)
Leaves from 1 or 2 stems cilantro, chopped (1 to 2 tablespoons)
Sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
For the sauce: Combine the carrot juice, ginger, lemon grass, orange zest and garlic in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble gently; cook, maintaining a very low boil, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let it sit for 30 minutes to infuse the flavors.
Add the orange and lime juices and the sugar to the saucepan; return it to medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture begins to bubble gently. Strain into a medium saucepan through a fine-mesh strainer, using a spoon to press the solids in the strainer to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Stir in the coconut milk and cayenne pepper, and season with salt to taste. Cover and keep warm over low heat.
For assembly: While the sauce is infusing, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat, add the asparagus and cook for 1 minute. Immediately drain in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking and set the color. When cool enough to handle, cut each stalk on the diagonal into 3 equal pieces.
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan or skillet. Once the oil is shimmering, add the salmon and cook on each side for 30 seconds, keeping the inside rare. Remove from the heat.
Divide the rice, if using, among deep plates or pasta bowls. Top with equal portions of salmon and asparagus. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and sea salt. Pour the sauce around the fish; serve warm.
Per serving: 420 calories, 37 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 23 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugar