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Boiling white or green asparagus in salted water until it is just beyond the al dente stage brings out the true asparagus flavor.
5 large eggs2 tablespoons small capers2 tablespoons shallot, minced4 cornichons, finely chopped1 tablespoon whole grain mustard2 tablespoon white wine vinegar1/2 cup extra virgin olive oilKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper3 tablespoon chopped mix of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chervil, chives, tarragon2 pounds fresh white asparagus, end removed
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. With a slotted spoon, one at a time, add 3 of the eggs carefully so they don’t crack and cook exactly 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, discard the water and place in a bowl of ice water for 2 minutes. Remove the eggs from the ice water and tap them on the counter to crack the shells slightly. Return to the ice water for 2 minutes. Remove the eggs, peel and set aside in a bowl.
Place the remaining 2 eggs in the saucepan and cover with cold water by 1-inch. Place the pan on high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Remove the pan from the burner, cover and let stand 12 minutes. Drain immediately and cool under cold running water. When the eggs are completely cool, finely chop and set aside.
In the meantime, to make the gribiche sauce, place the capers, shallots cornichons, mustard, vinegar, and olive oil in a bowl and stir together. Season with salt and pepper.
For the asparagus, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the lemon juice.
In the meantime, trim ½ -inch from the ends of the white asparagus. Lay the spears on the work surface and peel them with a vegetable peeler starting from 1 ½-inches from the top and peeling all the way to the bottom on the entire spear. The spears are very brittle and can snap if you don’t peel them while they are resting on the work surface.
Tie the asparagus into bundles using cotton kitchen string. Lower the bundles into the boiling water and cook, depending upon the thickness of the asparagus, until tender and can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 8 to 30 minutes.
Just before serving, mix the chopped eggs and parsley into the gribiche sauce and stir together. Remove the asparagus bundles with kitchen tongs and remove the strings. Immediately place the warm asparagus on a platter. Whisk the sauce and drizzle it over the asparagus. Cut the hard-boiled eggs in half and garnish the platter with the eggs. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
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