I love asparagus season. It always comes right around my birthday so I feel a special bond with the little plant. We've been cooking it up a lot around here lately, so I thought I'd share our favorite asparagus recipe of the moment -- fast, easy, delicious. (Though you can't go wrong keeping it simple & merely boiling the asparagus for a few minutes and serving it along side your breakfast, lunch or dinner).
Asparagus Gribiche, adapted from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Everyday
1 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed & dried
1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
Fine-grain sea salt
1 bunch of asparagus, ends snapped off, chopped
4 large eggs, hard boiled & peeled
2 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
2 shallots, chopped
1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
1 TBSP chopped fresh tarragon
1 TBSP chopped fresh chives
2 large handfuls of arugula, washed & dried
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with two racks in the top and middle of the oven.
If the potatoes aren't tiny, slice them into pieces no larger than your thumb. Use your hands to toss the potatoes with 1 TBSP of olive oil, sprinkle with a big pinch of salt, and turn out onto a baking sheet. Roast until they are cooked through and starting to brown, about 30 minutes.
About 15 minutes before the potatoes should be done, toss the asparagus with 1 TBSP of the olive oil, sprinkle with salt, arrange in a single layer on a second baking sheet and place in the oven as well. You are aiming to have the potatoes and asparagus finish cooking at roughly the same time.
To make the dressing, mash just the yolk of one of the hard boiled eggs in a medium bowl. Very slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil, beating constantly; the dressing should look smooth and glossy. Whisk in the vinegar, then the mustard. Stir in the shallots, herbs, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
Coarsely chop the remaining eggs and egg white, and fold them into the dressing.
Put the arugula in a large bowl. On top, put the warm potatoes and asparagus and gently toss with the dressing.
(Note, Heidi Swanson's original recipe called for broccoli instead of asparagus, which is equally as delicious. Follow the same recipe, substituting 12 ounces of broccoli florets. If you can't get your hands on such a wide variety of fresh herbs, just use and equivalent amount of the ones you can find. If you don't like arugula, simply leave it out.)