Chilled Asparagus with Mustard Herb Vinaigrette
One of the earliest vegetables to appear each spring is asparagus. In today’s marketplace it is available almost year-round, but truly tender and delicious asparagus is only found in the spring and preferably grown locally.
Sold by size, based on the thickness of the stalk, this versatile vegetable can range from colossal or jumbo to standard to small or pencil.
“Look for uniformity in size when you buy a bunch to ensure uniform cooking times,” says CIA Chef Fred Brash. “You also want tight closed tips with nothing open or seeding, and you’ll want to avoid shriveling stalks, or excessive woodiness at the base.”
Asparagus comes in three varieties: green, white, and purple. Green is the most popular in this country. White has always been preferred primarily in Europe and is gaining ground in the United States. Purple is more rare and is sometimes only found at farm stands. A member of the lily family, which also includes leeks and garlic, asparagus is highly nutritious and delicious in many preparations. Some cooks like to peel it, but generally that is only needed with thicker stalks. Standard-size asparagus works best for this recipe.
- 2 pounds asparagus
- 2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped tarragon leaves
- Salt and pepper as needed
- Dash of onion powder
- Dash of garlic powder
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Mustard Herb Vinaigrette
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, parsley, tarragon, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder until blended.
- Add the oil to the vinegar mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
- Trim the asparagus to remove the white, fibrous ends. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces on the diagonal.
- Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook until the spears are bright green and just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. (If necessary, cook the asparagus in batches.) Remove from water and place in refrigerator to chill or drain the asparagus in a colander and rinse with cold water until the asparagus is chilled. The asparagus is ready to dress and serve now, or it can be held in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours.
- Toss the chilled asparagus with the vinaigrette or pass it separately on the side. Serve immediately on a chilled platter or plates.
Nutritional Information per 4.5-ounce serving—Calories: 90, Protein: 3 g, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Fiber: 2 g, Total Fat: 7 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Sodium: 180 mg.