What began as a quest for Chicken Chili ingredients last Sunday, turned into a lobster feast for two. I guess you could say that Brian and I celebrated Valentine’s Day a few days early this year. I have the scars to prove it. I managed to burn my hand on scalding water (my fault) and I also pierced my finger with one of the claws on our large lobster (the lobster’s fault). Breaking apart a lobster is a messy business, there’s no way around it. The sweet meat inside however, is worth the labor.
Thankfully, I managed to cook our asparagus without any unfortunate bodily harm. We served our asparagus with sauce gribiche. Sauce gribiche is possibly one of my favorite sauces of all time, although it is really more like a vinaigrette. It is a classic French sauce that is traditionally made with chopped eggs, cornichons, herbs, and capers.
I first had sauce gribiche on our trip to France a few years ago at a well-known bistro in the 11th Arrondissement, Bistro Paul Bert. The sauce was served on beautifully steamed Spring Asparagus and I instantly fell in love. It’s tangy and lively, and it’s so simple to make at the last minute because you probably have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator or cupboard already.
The method is simple. Whisk together shallot, vinegar (red, white, or sherry vinegar), good extra virgin olive oil, a touch of Dijon mustard, plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper (seasoning is key to a good vinaigrette). Then add chopped hard-boiled eggs and herbs (I enjoy parsley, tarragon, chives and chervil in this sauce). I did not use cornichons or capers in this version, but you could add those as well. And that’s it! I typically serve asparagus with sauce gribiche as a starter, but it can also be a simple side dish. And don’t stop there, because this sauce also goes well with fish and grilled meat.
Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (I probably used at least a 1/2 teaspoon of coarse kosher salt)
- 2 large hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup of minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2 pounds of fresh asparagus, woody ends cut off at the bottom
For the sauce:
- Place the shallot, vinegars, mustard and olive oil in a small mixing bowl and whisk well until the mixture is emulsified.
- Add salt and pepper and season to taste.
- Add the hard boiled egg and parsley and whisk lightly.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop, or refrigerate and use within 2 days. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
For the steamed asparagus:
- Please a steamer basket in a large, wide saucepan filled with about 1 inch of water. Cover and bring the water to a boil.
- When the water comes to a boil, place the asparagus in the steamer basket, cover with a lid and cook for approximately 4 to 7 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender but retains a bit of crispness. Take the pot off the heat and remove the lid.
- Remove the asparagus from the steamer basket and serve on a plate drizzled with gribiche sauce.