5.16.2015

A Seasonal Starter

In our house, salad generally comes after the main course.

This is an old European tradition, but that isn't why we do it. We simply find a green salad is quite refreshing after a meal.

However, I make some salads that don't really qualify as a green salad and are more appropriate as first courses - a seafood salad, for example.

Today's recipe is another I find perfect for a starter: asparagus mimosa. And the season for this is now.

I saw some really beautiful purple asparagus at the farmers market this past week and wanted to do something a little different.

Asparagus mimosa can be plain steamed asparagus topped with chopped hard-boiled egg, or it can be more involved - blanched asparagus tossed in a tarragon vinaigrette and then sprinkled with the iconic mimosa egg topping. That is my favorite way.

I remember the first time I had a dish ending with "mimosa." It was just after my senior year in college, and my friend Martha made poached eggs with a creamy white sauce and topped it with "mimosa." Eggs with your eggs, you say?

The funny thing is that true "eggs mimosa" is really just another name for stuffed or deviled eggs.

As for the asparagus mimosa, I found references to it being made in 12th-century France, and only a brief description in Larousse Gastronomique. I have to assume it is French but cannot find any definitive source stating that.

I have always thought it was called so because it resembles mimosa or acacia blossoms. And, since I love them for both their beauty and amazing fragrance, that works for me.

I love asparagus dressed in a light vinaigrette, as the acidity pairs nicely with the asparagus and egg.

This is a good "do ahead" dish that keeps, covered, for a few hours in the refrigerator - but hold off sprinkling on the egg till you serve. It also works well as a light luncheon served with a cup of soup.

~ David

Asparagus Mimosa

2 pounds asparagus, not too thin
salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
freshly ground black pepper
1 hard boiled egg

Prepare a bowl of ice and cold water.

Put asparagus in a large skillet, then cover with cold, salted water. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer asparagus, uncovered for 5-6 minutes. Transfer with tongs to ice water, drain, then pat dry. Wipe skillet dry and return to medium-low heat.

Heat oil in the skillet and add shallot. When shallot is soft, remove skillet from heat and whisk in vinegar, mustard, tarragon, pepper, and a pinch of salt. Once emulsified, set aside to cool.

When cool, add the asparagus and toss well to coat.

Halve hard-boiled egg, then force through a medium-mesh sieve onto a plate. (Alternatively, crumble cooked yolks and finely chop whites.)

Using tongs, divide asparagus among 4 plates. Spoon a little additional vinaigrette over asparagus. Top with egg and serve.

Serves 4.

26 comments:

  1. There are food names that baffle me, but your association with the tree is a good one David. Your asparagus are simply stunning! And though I think of champagne and orange juice when I read mimosa, this whole recipe works fine for me! With a mimosa, the drink of course, haha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Paula - I know you mean. I think this dish would be lovely with a liquid mimosa, too!

      Delete
  2. Wow, that is amazing-looking asparagus, David! And a lovely recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Liz - it's very simple and a bit old-fashioned, which I love.

      Delete
  3. We eat lots of asparagus and this pretty dish sounds delicious! I'm very intrigued by your dark purple asparagus. I've never seen it before and it;s just beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know that purple asparagus has been showing up in some of the CA markets, as Greg (from Sippity Sup) used it in his post, too. I hope you and John can find some!

      Delete
  4. wow, awesome, nevae had this kind of asparagus before, intriguing...
    Dedy@Dentist Chef

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dedy - it seems to be rare, even here in the U.S.

      Delete
  5. Asparagus Mimosa WILL be on our table tonight!

    BTW, the other spring "stalks" -- rhubarb --were on our table last night! We followed your simple recipe for "Rhubarb Compote" with delicious results!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How did you like it, Susan?

      Thanks for the reminder about the rhubarb compote! Time to make a batch or two to freeze for the future!

      Delete
  6. YUM!!! There's fresh asparagus everywhere here (we get from local farmers, and Yakima WA) so I've been gorging on the stuff. My favorite way is grilled with lemon and olive oil, but this is definitely going into the mix!

    XO- Karin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We love it grilled, too, Karin! And roasted, and slivered raw, and blanched, and... and... It is probably our favorite vegetable,

      Delete
  7. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare asparagus. I've also found it keeps beautifully and may even taste better on the second day. Save the eggs for just before serving (of course). I'd heard about the acacia reference too. It must be true! GREG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Greg. I just tried your slivered version the other night. Beautiful and quite elegant.

      Delete
  8. David, we are being overwhelmed by asparagus again this time of year and we cannot get enough of it. So many recipes, so little time and the "mimosa way" is one of our favorites. But you already know so well that we live in a country of asparagus lovers.
    Liebe Grüße,
    Andrea

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrea - you are so lucky to live in a place that celebrates asparagus so well! Spargelzeit is my favorite season!

      Delete
  9. Replies
    1. Thank you, Fiona! And it is so simple, too.

      Delete
  10. Oooh, I love this! Im always looking for new and different ways to cook and serve asparagus. We all love it at home so I buy as much as I can when it's in season. We had some last night, but just blanched and sautéed. I adore it in tarts as well. Im considering going vegetarian, for a while at least, to see if helps my RA. I'm collecting veg recipes!! We'll see how it goes, I don't mind it, but I will miss kebabs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck with going vegetarian, Nazneen. I know it can be hard when it is a choice made for health but if it makes you feel better, the decision will get easier with each day. Hope you like the asparagus! Are you getting the purple variety in CO?

      Delete
  11. What a beautiful appetizer, D. And I love the classic French flavours.
    I might give this a try as a side tonight.
    Thanks! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It works really well as a side, too - hope you got a chance to try it, Colette!

      Delete
  12. Must be delicious. Looks really good.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm not an asparagus lover, but I think you can make any food look enticing, David! We also have salad after our main course (Italian tradition), but it often causes shock when we forget to inform dinner guests! haha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Christina! We love salad at the end of a meal - but you are right.... it surprises people!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

If you would like to receive follow-up comments, simply click the "Subscribe by E-mail" link to the right of the "Publish" and "Preview" buttons.