Recipe: Asparagus Fans with Mustard Sauce

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I like firm, fat, green asparagus with tight heads, and I always peel the lower third of the stalks with a vegetable peeler to make them tender. I often offer this as a first course.

The asparagus is dressed with a sauce of mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar and garnished with hard-cooked eggs and chives. Cook the asparagus fairly close to when you will sit down; it tastes better if it is served directly from the boiling water without being refreshed under cold water.

4 servings

Mustard Sauce

Lower the eggs into enough boiling water to cover them and cook at a very gentle boil for 10 minutes. Drain off the water and shake the pan to crack the eggshells. Add ice to the pan and set aside for at least 15 minutes to cool completely. Shell the eggs and place them, one at a time, in an egg slicer, cut through them, then rotate them 45 degrees in the slicer and cut through them again to create strips. Alternatively, chop the eggs with a sharp knife. Set aside.

Peel the lower third of the asparagus spears with a vegetable peeler. Bring 3 cups salted water to a boil in a large skillet. Add the asparagus, cover partially, and bring back to a boil over high heat. Boil over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until the spears are tender but still firm. Using a slotted spatula, remove the asparagus from the water and put it on a platter.

For the sauce: Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.

At serving time, arrange the asparagus spears on a platter, positioning them so the stem ends are close together and the tips are fanned out. Coat the lower third of the asparagus spears with the sauce and sprinkle the eggs and chives over and around them. Serve.

Episode 208: The Egg First!

Jacques loves all eggs, all ways! Cooking them correctly is an important technique, and who better to demonstrate the perfect hard-cooked egg than a master of technique! Jacques begins this menu with hard-cooked eggs used as a garnish for his Asparagus Fans with Mustard Sauce. Simply seared in moments, Scallops Grenobloise is the ultimate fast dish and when served with Potato Gratin with Cream, it makes a rich main course. Jam Tartines with Fruit Sherbet conclude the menu.

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Minute Recipe: Red Pepper Dip

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Roasted red peppers are sold at the deli counter. I transform them into a fast dip to enjoy with cocktails.

Cut enough roasted red bell pepper into 1-inch pieces to make 1 cup. Transfer to a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup cream cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper. Process until smooth. Serve with crunchy breadsticks.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups