by David Paul
1 med shallot, minced
1 lg clove garlic (or 2 medium), minced
2 tsp capers, rough chopped
1 1/2 heaping Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 sundried tomatoes, minced
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt, taste - add more if needed
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 Tbsp of dry Vermouth or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Whisk together all dressing ingredients except olive oil, while whisking, drizzle in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Taste, if more acid is needed; add more lemon juice. Serve immediately over 2 lbs chilled or warm freshly blanched asparagus.
2 pounds fresh, med-thick asparagus (see Rinse and Snap)
8 cups water
2 Tbsp coarse salt
Have a large bowl of ice water standing by. In a large saucepan, boil 2 quarts of water. Add 2 Tbsp Kosher salt, and asparagus; boil 3 to 4 minutes until tender (depending on thickness).
Remove with tongs, or drain in a colander, and immediately transfer to ice water for 1 minute to stop the cooking process. Drain; refrigerate until completely chilled.
Storing Fresh Asparagus
Keep in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer away from ethylene-producing fruit like apples and pears, which toughen the stalks. Note that storing bunches upright in water may cause the tips to open.
Rinse and Snap
The tender tips can be particularly sandy. Holding the bunch upside down, gently swish it in cold water. Then to snap off the tough woody ends, bending the stalks at the natural breaking point (where the color changes from white to green), just 1 - 2 inches from the base.
A hand-held stick blender is one of my absolutely favorite tools. You can whisk dressings in the provided carafe. Or, puree directly inside a wide-mouth canning jar, and then cover tightly with a 2-part canning jar lid.
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Cuisinart Stick Blender, w/ Mini Food Processor & Whisk