Asparagus with Salmon Caviar and Black Olive Vinaigrette

An appetizing and colorful plate, amazingly simple to put together for a light lunch or an appetizer for a dinner.

20130621-210006.jpg A beautiful way to serve asparagus. In this version, I paired them with a hen egg, but you can certainly use quail eggs if available. The salmon roe is easy to handle for decoration and brings a burst of brilliant color that compliments the green asparagus, the black olives, and the white and yellow eggs.

20130621-214657.jpg Ingredients:
2 lb asparagus
8 black olives, preferably dry cured in oil and herbs.
1 – 1.5 oz salmon caviar
4 hen eggs (or a dozen quail eggs) at room temperature
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
A bunch of chives
Salt and pepper

20130621-214739.jpg Wash and trim the asparagus, removing the ‘woody’ ends.

20130621-214817.jpg Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and throw in the asparagus. The salt content helps develop a beautiful green color. In addition, you might let the asparagus bathe in a bowl of ice water prior to placing them in the boiling pot, as going from the icy cold to the boiling hot temperatures will also help develop a more vibrant green color to the vegetables. Cook until tender.

20130621-214915.jpg When ready, immediately plunge them in an ice water bowl to stop the cooking process and so that they retain their beautiful green color. Drain once cool to the touch.

20130621-215006.jpg Meanwhile, bring a smaller saucepan of water to a boil and carefully place the room temperature eggs into the boiling water using a slotted spoon. Cook in rolling water for precisely 3 minutes.

20130621-215114.jpg Then place the eggs in ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, gently break the shell to remove. This process needs to be tended carefully as the eggs are soft, not hard, and you want to be sure not to inadvertently break them open as the yolk should still be runny.

20130621-215310.jpg In a small bowl, prepare the black olive vinaigrette. Place the mustard, salt, freshly ground pepper in the bowl. Mix well.

20130621-215403.jpg Dilute the mustard by adding the vinegar and mixing thoroughly.

20130621-215452.jpg Add the grape seed oil and whisk together to fully homogenize the ingredients.

20130621-215556.jpg Pit and chop the black olives finely.

20130621-215637.jpg Incorporate into the vinaigrette.

20130621-215734.jpg Chop the chives, reserving the tapering tips for decoration.

20130621-215826.jpg Salmon caviar, or sometimes called salmon roe, is highly perishable and must be refrigerated until the time you are ready to serve the plates.

20130621-215927.jpg Prepare the plates by arranging the asparagus as a bed on the bottom. Drizzle with the black olive vinaigrette and sprinkle with chives. Place a small spoonful of salmon caviar to the side, carefully displaying some of the eggs artfully around. Set the soft boiled hen egg to the side.

20130621-220022.jpg Cut open the soft boiled egg to unveil a perfectly cooked white and runny yolk. Finish with the chives tips and serve at once. Enjoy!

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