Asparagus with mustard vinaigrette

Spring loves to gloat about its mostly green, crisp vegetables, doesn’t it? It’s primetime for vegetables like artichokes, snap peas, peas, radishes, and my personal favorite, asparagus. I’ll gladly pay the pee price for them. Consuming these vegetables during spring vs. non-spring isn’t in the same galaxy. Although asparagus is available year round, the fat stalks that slowly materialize in the months of April and May make those skinny ones look pathetic. First world, I’m-a-huge-brat conundrum, yes, but a huge conundrum nonetheless.

Since the plump asparagus are special, I’m often torn (and anxious, duh) about how I should prepare them, because it must be THE BEST EVER ALWAYS. Because they’re special! Because they’re limited editions! I’ve endlessly fussed and made salads out of them, grilled them and added a bunch of crap like toasted nuts and dried fruit, made soups, purees, etc etc etc. But I always find myself longing for utter simplicity. If I had to choose one way to eat primetime asparagus, it would be just like this. Blanched (quickly boiled and shocked in ice water), and served with a tangy, shallot-y, basic vinaigrette. 

You might be like whhaaaat? Get out of here with your boring recipe! Trust me. Like most remarkable foodstuffs, they’re best unadorned and not overthought. Because if they’re growing when they should and how they should, then they should just taste the way they should, right? Absolutely.

Asparagus with mustard vinaigrette
  1. 2 pounds asparagus
  2. 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  3. 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  6. Minced parsley and/or chives to taste (optional)
  7. 1/2 cup olive oil
  1. In a large stock pot, fill with water and bring to a rolling boil. Add a handful or so of salt. The water should taste like the ocean. Don't worry about the amount of salt, because since the asparagus will be hanging out in the boiling water, it's going to be seasoned while it's in there.
  2. Break the ends off of each asparagus with your hands. When you break the end off, it'll break right where it's supposed to and you won't have to eat the woodsy, chewy end. If your asparagus is crazy thick on the bottom, the skin might be thick, too, so peeling the skin off of the bottom couple inches of the asparagus is preferable.
  3. While you wait for the water to boil, fill a large bowl with ice water. Set aside.
  4. Also while you're waiting for the water to boil, make the vinaigrette. In a bowl, place the mustard. Whisk in the vinegar, salt, pepper and herbs to taste, if using. Pour the olive oil into the bowl in a slooow steam, whisking the entire time. The vinaigrette will emulsify and thicken. Set aside.
  5. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the asparagus. Let it boil for three minutes if using the thick asparagus, two minutes for the thin ones. Once cooked, drain the asparagus and immediately place them into the bowl with ice water. This will shock them and stop the cooking, so we'll be left with a crisp, cooked veggie with a nice al-dente sort of bite. Some people say you can lay the veggies on a kitchen towel, but I don't think anything can be substituted for the ice bowl.
  6. Remove the asparagus from the ice water and dry well. Place them on a platter, and drizzle the vinaigrette over them.
Ashley Pardo


Leave a Reply

  1. Santiago Pardo says:

    Hey sweetheart, I agree the simpler the better.
    We just had them last weekend on Saturday night with our guests you were there.
    They are delicious just with the vinaigrette.
    As usual after reading your blog I am hungry

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