Asparagus is very versatile. In either its raw or cooked forms it pairs well with earthy and salty flavors. This asparagus salad features all these combinations and is topped with a rich crème fraîche dressing.
- 2 tablespoon crème fraîche
- 4 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- kosher salt (as needed for boiling and seasoning)
- 2 teaspoon minced chives
- 12 ounce very small new or “pee wee” potatoes
- 16 thick asparagus spears
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- freshly cracked black pepper (as needed for seasoning)
- 2 ounce salmon roe (or other sustainable caviar)
Make the dressing: In a small bowl, gently mix together the crème fraîche, 1 teaspoon olive oil, lemon zest, a pinch of salt, and chives. Cover and refrigerate until needed, up to 2 days in advance.
Boil the potatoes: In a medium saucepan cover the potatoes with about 1‑inch of water, bring to a boil and add 2 teaspoons salt, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until just tender; 8–10 minutes, depending on size. Drain and set aside at room temperature, or over and refrigerate until needed, up to 2 days in advance. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.
Prepare the asparagus: Set aside 4 of the fattest asparagus spears. Using a vegetable peeler, lightly peel the remaining 12 asparagus spears to within about 1‑inch of the tip. Trim the bottoms neatly to remove the woody ends. Put the peeled, trimmed asparagus in a 12-inch heavy skillet, then cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and add 2 teaspoons salt, then reduce heat and simmer asparagus, uncovered, until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. The best way to know when they’re done is to poke a spear with a paring knife; it should slide in easily. Transfer with tongs to ice water, then to a clean kitchen towel. Pat dry.
Assemble the salad: Scatter the boiled potatoes onto a serving platter, arrange the cooked, peeled asparagus on top, then drizzle with lemon juice and remaining 3 teaspoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Dollop the crème fraîche mixture across the salad. Then, using a vegetable peeler thinly shave the remaining 4 asparagus spears lengthwise into ribbons, draping them over the top of the salad. Top with small piles of salmon roe. Bring the salad to the table to serve immediately or set it aside uncovered in the refrigerator for no more than 1 hour. Toss the salad together just before serving.