In the June 2009 issue of Food & Wine, Nate Appleman (of A16 and SPQR restaurants in San Francisco) recommends using mayonnaise-based marinades for grilling. Just a few pages later, Melissa Rubel gives a recipe for a mayonnaise-based Caesar style salad dressing. Why not combine the two, and make some Caesar-dressed veggies?
I tossed some skinny spring asparagus with a slightly adjusted version of the Caesar dressing, increasing the lemon a bit, and mashing it all together in a bowl instead of getting a blender dirty. (I used anchovy paste, because I always keep it on hand, but I'm sure anchovy fillets would be lovely.)
Adapting for the grill-less among us, I broiled the asparagus until it was just slightly charred and still vivid green. You could roast these in the oven as well if you're a little more patient. Tossed with extra parmesan and tons of freshly ground black pepper, the asparagus was lovely with just a few tomatoes on the side, and even better with a fried egg on top.
This makes enough dressing for two pounds of asparagus, but it will cook better if you only fill the pan one pound at a time. If you're making this for two people, I recommend cooking in two batches, or in a large broiler-safe pan.
Adapted from Food and Wine
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (depending on how you feel about anchovies)
1 clove garlic, chopped
Juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1 pound asparagus, tough ends removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Parmesan for grating
Preheat broiler. In a small bowl, mix mayo, anchovy paste, garlic, lemon juice, and mustard, smashing garlic a bit. In a large broiler-safe pan (I used a 3 qt sauté pan), toss asparagus with olive oil until evenly coated, the toss with half of the Caesar dressing. Broil for 5 minutes, then toss with tongs, and broil five minutes more. Toss again, then grate parmesan on top. Return asparagus to the broiler for a few minutes until parmesan has melted and tips of the asparagus begin to shrivel.
Garnish with sea salt, additional parmesan, and a very generous grinding of pepper.
Serve with a poached or fried egg if desired.
Thank you for sharing, Maggie! We love Pithy and Cleaver.
Related: Recipe: Asparagus and Pecorino
(Images: Maggie of Pithy and Cleaver)