Asparagus is at its flavorful best for only a short time, usually between March and May, when you'll want to avail yourself of its abundance. There are, of course, a number of ways to prepare and serve asparagus, but this method, in which it is paired with a savory vinaigrette, is one of Martha's seasonal favorites.
- Coarse salt
- 2 bunches asparagus (about 2 pounds), trimmed
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- Pinch of sugar
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt, and the asparagus. Return to a boil, and cook until asparagus are bright green and tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to ice bath to cool. Drain well, pat dry, and transfer to a serving platter.
In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, and sugar. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Whisk in oil. Add lemon zest and tarragon; whisk to combine. Taste, and adjust for seasoning. Drizzle over asparagus. Serve immediately, or let stand at room temperature for up to 30 minutes before serving.