Preparation: 30 min.
Choose your asparagus spears well and you will be rewarded. Look for spears that are firm and have a glossy green. Avoid any dry and wrinkled ones. Tips should be upright and green, not looking tired.
Serve on its own or as a side dish to grilled meats.
- 24 green asparagus spears, trimmed
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp white Balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium-size ripe tomato, cut into 3/8 inch (1 cm) dices
- 1 Tbsp parsley finely chopped
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- pinch of sugar or to taste
Use a vegetable peeler to scrape thin slivers of the asparagus spears to about 2 inches (5 cm) from the top. Be careful not to peel too much. Asparagus should not be thinner on the bottom as they are on top otherwise, they will break easily. Cut off any tough, woody bottoms and make their length uniform.
Add enough water in a large skillet to cover the asparagus. Add salt. Line them up so all tips face the same direction. If some of the asparagus are thicker than others, position them in the center of the skillet. Cook them until they are tender but still “al dente” about 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears. Drain asparagus in a colander taking care not to injure the tender tops. Refresh them with cold water to preserve their green color. Pat them dry gently on paper towels. Refrigerate while making the vinaigrette.
In a small bowl mix together the chopped shallot and the white balsamic vinegar. Let it steep for 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard. Mix well. Add olive oil in a steady thin stream, whisking vigorously. Taste for salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sugar to round up if you like.
Take asparagus from the refrigerator and pour the vinaigrette on top. Garnish with the tomato dices, if you intend to serve asparagus immediately. If you choose to prepare this dish in advance, add the vinaigrette shortly before serving (about 10-15 minutes). Sprinkle with the diced tomatoes when serving. Tomatoes get mushy when marinated too long.