I snapped up this asparagus at the farmers’ market just before someone else grabbed the last bunch. It was 10:30 a.m. It’s rough out there! I can’t say that I’m often ready to fight off fellow New Yorkers for the opportunity to spend $5 on a vegetable, but I have been waiting for asparagus season for a long time. At work, we just finished hosting a lecture series on food history and opera (here we are in Florence Fabricant’s New York Times column—scroll down to “To Hear: The Intersection of Food and Opera”), in which I learned that asparagus was quite trendy in Tudor-era England. Who doesn’t want to be a trendy Tudor? I bought that asparagus, no regrets.
Sauce Gribiche is sort of like French tartar sauce, and it’s good on meat and fish as well as on asparagus. I love just about anything with cornichons—crisp mini French pickles—(yes, you should buy a whole jar of them for this recipe so you can use the leftovers with pâté or a cheese plate or on a rare burger with lots of Dijon etc. etc.).
Asparagus is notoriously hard to pair with wine, but some winning wines (wining wins?) according to What to Drink with What You Eat (I highly recommend this book and its smart phone app) include the following: Chablis, un-oaked Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner, Alsatian Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, dry Muscat. Andrew and I ate this at lunch and avoided the pairing problem all together. Not that I would judge you for having a little wine with lunch. In conclusion, whether you’re swilling water or wine, eat your asparagus. It’s what Henry VIII would have done. (Not that I’m suggesting he’s a good role model in other things. Because I’m not suggesting that. !!!)
Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche
- 1 Tbsp capers, chopped
- 1 cornichon, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
- 1 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh parsely, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- black pepper
- 1 bunch fat asparagus
serves 2 to 4
- Make the asparagus: Peel the bottom third of the asparagus. Add about 1/2 inch of water to a sauté pan and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but not lifeless. Immediately remove from heat, drain, and rinse under cool water. Set aside.
- Make the sauce: Place the eggs in a saucepan, add water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Leave the eggs in the hot water for 4 minutes, then remove and run under cool water until cool enough to peel. Peel eggs, chop finely, and place in a small mixing bowl. Add the capers, cornichon, shallot, mustard, and lemon juice, and stir to combine. Slowly add the olive oil, stirring constantly. Add pepper to taste and salt only if necessary (the capers are salty so you probably won’t need it).
- Divide the asparagus onto plates and top with a few spoons of the sauce.