We just received the first asparagus of the season and I immediately thought of a flavor combination that I discovered at Le Grand Vefour years ago – asparagus and roe. The roe’s salty taste reveals the flavor and crunchiness of the vegetable. The colors and textures complement each other really well. This combination is more fine and subtle than the more traditional one – asparagus and chicken eggs.
There is no need for much fuss with great quality vegetables. Great asparagus are medium sized stems with clean, closed tips. They should not be bruised, wet or opened. I find them to be the tastiest when peeled, boiled for a couple of minutes in salted water and served lukewarm. Some will advise you to toss them in cold or iced water to preserve the green color, I think that the stark change in temperature kills the taste and makes the vegetable soggy. If you only boil them for two to four minutes, the color will remain intact.
In addition to the roe, we season our “Green Asparagus Salad with Trout Roe and Leek ashes” with a rosemary aioli sauce and adorn it with fragrant edible flowers that we choose for their color and for their scent. The rest will remain our secret “tour de main” Bon Appétit!
The recipe that I would like to share with you today is a close but simpler version of the restaurant’s one :
Ingredients (appetizer that serves 4)
1 lb asparagus
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 sprig of rosemary finely chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp salmon roe (optional)
edible spring flowers
fleur de sel, white pepper (to taste)
1 – Finely mince and pickle the shallots in sherry vinegar. Drain and add rosemary and extra-virgin olive oil.
2- Peel asparagus and blanch until tender (2 to 4 minutes depending on their size). Place on a plate and top with rosemary/shallot dressing.
3- Top with trout roe and spring flowers. Season with fleur de sel and pepper.