From Frank Stitt
“While dining with Richard Olney for a late spring lunch at his hillside Provencal home several years ago, he shared with me the Purist’s view of asparagus preparation, service and method of consumption. Peel the bottom half of large fresh asparagus spears. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the asparagus and cook over moderately high heat until tender, about 5 minutes, depending on size and freshness. Drain the spears and blot them of excess moisture with a clean kitchen towel. Grill the asparagus and serve hot with a puddle of vinaigrette on the plate.”
This dish embodies the simple, straightforward style of bistro cooking at its best. If you don’t have on hand all the herbs listed for the vinaigrette, do try to use at least two of them. Be sure to serve the asparagus sizzling hot from the grill. When the egg and herb vinaigrette hits, the aroma comes alive.
Grilled Jumbo Asparagus with Egg and Herb Vinaigrette
Serves 4 as an appetizer
16 jumbo asparagus spears, tough ends cut away and bottom half peeled
4 hard-boiled large eggs, peeled and pressed through a sieve or finely chopped
¼ cup Sherry Vinaigrette
1/3 cup coarsely chopped chives, flat-leaf parsley, tarragon, and/or chervil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for brushing
Prepare a hot grill.
While grill is heating, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil on stove. Add the asparagus and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and blot dry on a kitchen towel.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, vinaigrette and all but 1 tablespoon of the herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
Brush the grill with a little olive oil. Place the asparagus spears on the hot grill and brush with olive oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 4 minutes total.
Divide the asparagus among the serving plates. Spoon a fat ribbon of the vinaigrette over each plate of asparagus. Garnish with a scattering of the remaining herbs.
Copyright: Frank Stitt’s Southern Table, Artisan Books, 2004.