2 to 3tbspchopped fresh herbs (tarragon is the traditional choice, but you can also use flat-leaf parsley or dill, or a combination)
FOR THE ASPARAGUS
Fill a mixing bowl with cold water, then add plenty of ice cubes to make the water ice cold. (Make sure to keep a handful of ice cubes in the freezer to cool the eggs later on.)
Snap off or slice off the stringy ends of the asparagus and discard. Fill a pot that fit the asparagus with water, add a generous pinch of salt, and bring to a boil.
Add the asparagus and blanch for 1 minute. If the stalks are very thick, you can blanch for top to 1 minute and 30 seconds, whereas if they’re very thin, you can blanch for only 30 to 45 seconds. You want theasparagus to remain crisp-tender.
Use kitchen tongs to immediately transfer the asparagus to the ice water (this will stop the cooking and help retain the asparagus’ bright green color). Leave to cool completely, 5 to 10 minutes, then drain the asparagus, pat them dry, and set aside until ready to serve.
You can prepare the asparagus in advance: Once cool, drain and pat dry, then refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
FOR THE HARD-BOILED EGGS
Prepare a second small bowl of ice water. Gently place the two eggs in a small pot. Cover with water. Set over high heat and bring the water to a generous boil. Once the water boils, remove the pot from the heat, cover, and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Drain the eggs, rinse under cold water for 1 minute, then transfer to ice water. Leave to cool completely, at least 10 minutes.
You can prepare the hard-boiled eggs in advance: After cooling the eggs in ice water, pat them dry and store in the fridge (with the shell on) for up to 2 days.
FOR THE GRIBICHE DRESSING
Peel the hard-boiled eggs. Chop the eggs: you can chop them finely to get a more cohesive dressing, or keep them chunky for visual appeal and a delicious texture. Set the chopped eggs aside.
In a bowl, combine the oil, vinegar and mustard. Whisk vigorously to emulsify the dressing. (The oil should fully combine with the vinegar and mustard, and not appear separate.) Add the gherkins, capers, salt, and pepper, and mix to combine. Add the chopped eggs and fresh herbs and very gently stir, just to coat the eggs with the dressing and seasonings. Taste the gribiche dressing and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can also add more gherkins, capers, and herbs to your liking.
Set the asparagus on a large serving plate. Spoon the gribiche dressing over and serve immediately with crusty bread.
Alternatively, you can divide the asparagus between individual serving plates and spoon a bit of gribiche dressing over. Let your guests help themselves to more dressing if they want to.
Gherkins, or cornichons, are small and super-crunchy, with a taste that's unique and more acidic than classic dill pickles. They're a great addition to a charcuterie and cheese board, or as a side to any rich, cheese-based dish such as fondue or raclette. Maille is my go-to brand for cornichons.
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