Roasted Asparagus and Morels with Sauce Gribiche

from The Fire Within

Chef Kenan Anderson enjoys cooking with local, fresh ingredients. As the valley turns green and the days grow longer, consider cooking this seasonal appetizer for your next alfresco dinner party.

Serves 4 as an appetizer

FOR 1 CUP OF SAUCE

2 eggs
1 tablespoon minced fennel bulb
2 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
½ teaspoon minced tarragon
1 medium shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon capers
1 lemon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

FOR THE VEGETABLES

1 pound asparagus
¼ pound morel mushrooms

Preheat oven to 400°F. Put the eggs in a small saucepan with enough cold water to cover them by an inch and place on the stove on high heat.

Meanwhile, put 1 cup of ice and 1 cup of cold water in a bowl. Place the bowl and a slotted spoon near your egg pan. As soon as the saucepan reaches a rolling boil, turn off the heat and allow the eggs to sit in the hot water for 3 minutes. Then use the slotted spoon to move the eggs to the bowl to stop the cooking.

When the eggs have cooled, peel and quarter lengthwise, then cut the quarters into half-inch pieces and put them in a nonreactive bowl big enough to hold 2 cups. The yolk should not be totally cooked through; if there is any liquid yolk, scrape it into the bowl.

Add the minced fennel, parsley, tarragon, shallot, champagne vinegar, oil, and mustard to the bowl. If you have capers packed in salt, soak them in a small amount of hot water to dissolve the salt, then rinse them in cold water. If they are in brine, simply rinse them. If they are large capers, chop them a bit with your knife. Stir the capers into the sauce.

Grate the lemon zest into the sauce.

Juice the lemon into the bowl. Add the ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and stir thoroughly to combine. Taste the sauce—it should be sharp and punchy so that it can stand up to the earthy, vegetal flavors of the asparagus and morels. Depending on how salty the capers are, you may have to add more salt to balance the acidity. Tightly cover the sauce in a nonreactive container and place in the refrigerator to keep for several days.

This sauce pairs well with chicken, beef, potatoes, and fish, as well as with roasted mushrooms, asparagus, and other vegetables. I like to use a buttery, grassy olive oil for this because you don’t want a powerful, spicy, or bitter oil competing with the other flavors.

Feel free to play with the herbs. Dill, chervil, curly parsley, and other soft herbs would also work well.

If the base of your asparagus is woody or fibrous, snap those ends off. Clean and halve the mushrooms lengthwise, or cut into more pieces depending on how large they are.

Toss the asparagus and morels with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the items in an oven-safe rimmed dish large enough to hold them without crowding too much. Roast for approximately 10 minutes. The asparagus should have some color but still have some snap, and the mushrooms should be cooked through, starting to crisp, but not dry.

Divide into bundles on individual serving plates and top each with a tablespoon of Sauce Gribiche, or place on a serving platt er with the Gribiche drizzled over the top.

—Recipe provided by Kenan Anderson

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