Gribiche dressing is a French condiment made with hard-boiled eggs and flavorful garnishes such as cornichons and capers. It’s the perfect dressing for fresh spring asparagus!
When March rolls around every year, I keep my eyes peeled to spot the first bunches of asparagus to appear at the market. To me, the bright green stalks are like a signpost: spring this way! Asparagus are so versatile, too: I enjoy eating them crisp and raw, sliced super thinly and used as a topping for a tartine; sauteed and incorporated into a stir-fry; incorporated into classic weekend brunch dishes such as Eggs Benedict or Breakfast Pizza; or used as a topping for a lunch bowl.
But my favorite way to serve fresh spring asparagus is one that puts the vegetable front and center: I simply steam the stalks and dress them with a classic French hard-boiled egg dressing called sauce gribiche. Gribiche dressing is made very much like mayonnaise, with the major difference being that you use hard-boiled eggs instead of fresh ones. The dressing is then enhanced with chunky flavorings that include gherkins, capers, and fresh herbs.
Gribiche dressing is a completely irresistible condiment that is the perfect companion to crisp-tender asparagus. Serve this impressive, yet easy French dish for a luxurious brunch, alongside smoked salmon and some fresh, crusty bread.
You can serve this dish the classic way: set the asparagus on a plate and spoon the gribiche sauce on top. You can also serve the dish as a tartine, by grilling or toasting large slices of sourdough bread, pilling some asparagus on top, and generously topping with gribiche dressing.
But don’t stop there: gribiche dressing is also a delightful condiment for roasted or boiled baby potatoes, grilled or broiled fish (especially salmon), or even grilled pork.
Gribiche dressing does not keep very well and is at its very best when it’s freshly made. Upon refrigeration, the dressing is likely to separate, and the oil will solidify. You can stir it back together, but by doing so, the chunky pieces of hard-boiled egg will break into the dressing, which will slightly change the texture and look of the dressing. It’ll still be delicious, though!
For the best flavor, look, and texture, make only the quantity of dressing you need for one meal.
Although gribiche dressing will emulsify when you whisk the oil and mustard together, it will separate as it sits as any dressing would. Contrary to mayonnaise, in gribiche dressing, there isn’t an egg yolk to stabilize the emulsion. If your gribiche dressing separates, there’s nothing wrong with it! It’s just part of its charm :)
If you’d like a more stable dressing, you can remove the yolk from one of the hard-boiled eggs, mash it with a fork, then whisk it into the oil along with the vinegar and mustard. You can also blend the dressing using a hand mixer, which will help emulsify the dressing better thanks to its speed and power.
My recipe recommends blanching the asparagus, which is a super quick and easy technique to prep and cook the stalks for this recipe. For a change, you can also sauté the asparagus in a very hot, lightly oiled pan, or grill them on the barbecue. Keep in mind the cooking time for asparagus is very short: you only need to leave them on the heat for 1 to 2 minutes to reach a crisp-tender texture.
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