Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche

Spring and Early Summer

This tends to be a combination we like to serve towards the end of the asparagus season. The combination of asparagus with capers, cornichons and chives is unusual but it works really well with both green and white asparagus.

In most countries the season for asparagus is well-defined. It starts around 23rd April (St.George’s Day) and finishes on June 24th (the nativity of Saint John the Baptist). Green asparagus tend to be available all year round, however we recommend being careful. It’s a bit silly to buy the very skinny ones grown in darkest Peru. Nothing wrong with Peru, it’s just that following the seasons and focusing on local, organic products is our preferred approach, but not in a dogmatic way.

Sauce Gribiche is often made with chervil, parsley and tarragon. In this case we use chives because especially the tarragon would be too much for the asparagus. Chives give it a touch of onion, which is exactly what the sauce needs.
A note on the oil: most recipes for sauce Gribiche mention a neutral oil like sunflower or arachis (peanut) oil. Sauce Gribiche should be a sauce with taste, not just supporting the main element of the dish but also an essential part of the dish. Make sure the oil is part of the taste by using olive oil or grape seed oil.

We enjoyed our Asparagus with sauce Gribiche with a glass of Macon (Louis Jadot Mâcon Villages Grange Magnien). The wine (100% chardonnay) comes with some gentle acidity, which is great with the acidity of the Sauce Gribiche. It’s fruity with a floral scent.

Here is what you need:

  • Two Eggs
  • Dijon Mustard (1 tea spoon)
  • (White Wine) Vinegar (1 table spoon)
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Chives
  • Cornichon
  • Capers (in brine)

Start by boiling the eggs, making sure the yolk is set but not too much. Depending on the size add them to boiling water and leave them in the simmering water for 7-9 minutes. Remove and transfer to a large bowl with cold water.
Once cold, peel the eggs, separate the white from the yolk. Cut the white in smaller bits and store. Crush the two yolks using a fork. Make sure it becomes a paste-like substance. Add the mustard, stir, add the vinegar and stir well. Continue stirring (spoon preferred) and slowly add the olive oil, as if making a mayonnaise. Which is basically what you’re doing anyway! Main difference is that cooked yolk is less powerful when it comes to emulsifying. So the amount of olive oil you can add is (more) limited.
Once you’ve added the olive oil, add a bit of lemon juice, taste and decide if more mustard, vinegar, pepper or lemon is needed.
Now add the chopped egg white, the finely chopped chives, the drained capers and the thinly sliced cornichon.
The sauce should be ‘stable’ so feel free to store in the refrigerator.
Steam or cook the white or green asparagus and enjoy!

PS Although the pictures show white asparagus we think we actually prefer the combination with green asparagus.