This is a quick and dramatic way to serve asparagus. White asparagus is usually thick-stemmed, making a nice fat bundle. Cook just until tender, and handle very carefully to avoid breaking the tips.
- White Asparagus - 2 pounds, peeled, tough ends removed
- Egg - 1, boiled 12 minutes, peeled, yolk and white separated and grated
- Tomato - 1, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
- Chervil - 1 tablespoon, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Olive Oil - 3 tablespoons
- Sugar - 1 teaspoon
- Leek Leaves - 2, green portion, cut into 1/4-inch lengthwise strips and blanched
- Fresh chervil sprigs for garnish
Gently tie the asparagus in bundles of 6 to 7 spears with cotton kitchen string. Bring a large quantity of lightly salted water to a boil in a large stockpot. Add the asparagus bundles and cook 6 to 7 minutes, or until tender. Remove the asparagus bundles with a long-handled strainer and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When cooled, remove and drain on paper towels, still tied in bundles.
Remove the strings and release the asparagus. Cut the tips of the asparagus in 2-inch lengths and set aside. Chop the remaining stalks into small pieces. In a small mixing bowl, combine the stalk pieces with the grated egg white, tomato, and chopped chervil. Season with salt and pepper. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, and sugar and stir until no trace of the sugar remains. Dress the asparagus salad and the reserved tips with this mixture.
To serve: Place a round 2-1/2-inch ring mold, cookie cutter, or section of PVC pipe in the center of a serving plate. Stand one fourth of the asparagus tips, points up, around the inside edge of the ring mold and fill the center with the asparagus salad mixture. Gently lift the mold. Tie two of the narrow leek strips around asparagus tips. Repeat for the other plates. Sprinkle the plates with grated egg yolk and garnish with chervil sprigs.