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Easy enough to make for a beach BBQ, and almost too elegant for paper plates…

I remember back in the day when I hated asparagus (there was a point in my young age when I pretty much hated everything except for toast and milk). The day I finally decided to man up and give them another shot was a new beginning. My aunt made the super skinny spears with just a little olive oil and salt and pepper, and everything changed.

I realized this vegetable wasn’t the devil, and not only were they good with just a little EVOO love, there were so many other asparagus recipes out there! I still refuse to buy asparagus if they are really thick…maybe I am an asparagus snob.

This recipe is pretty standard – cook the asparagus in whatever way works for you, then pile on this amazing mustard sauce. The sauce will go well on other things too – pork, chicken, fish, etc….but it is really damn good on asparagus.

RECIPE

Asparagus With Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1 1/2 pounds large or medium asparagus
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely cut chives.

1. Snap off and discard the tough bottoms of each asparagus spear. If using large, thick asparagus, peel the lower ends with a vegetable peeler. Medium asparagus will not need peeling.

2. Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, place the shallots, vinegar and a pinch of salt. Let shallots soften for 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, then whisk in the olive oil to make a thick dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Heat grill to medium. Brush olive oil on asparagus, and grill until tender, about 6-10 minutes depending on your grill. If you do not have a grill: In a large stainless-steel soup pot bring 4 quarts of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until just done. Remove asparagus with a large strainer and spread out on a baking sheet lined with a clean kitchen towel. Asparagus may be served warm or at room temperature.

5. To serve, place asparagus on a platter or individual plates. Spoon the vinaigrette over the asparagus. Sprinkle with chives if you wish.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Adapted from the New York Times.

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