1 3/4 lb (800 g) fresh asparagus spears
for the japanese dressing:
3 tbsp Japanese light soy sauce
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1. Clean and prepare the asparagus. For this dish only the tenderest tips 2 1/2 - 3 in (7 cm) are used; the remainder can be kept for soups.
2. Rinse and drain these tips and cut each one diagonally in half; turn one half upside down, so that the cut sides are still next to one another but with the top end of one half dovetailed against the lower end of its other half.
3. Steam for 4 - 5 minutes or until tender but firm. Drain off any moisture and arrange on small, individual plates, sprinkling each serving with a very little of the Japanese dressing.
4. Make this by mixing the soy sauce and sugar and then beating in the oil, using a very small balloon whisk.