I first tasted a very similar asparagus dish like this one at my cousin Barbara's house many, many years ago. She and her husband Ed were gourmands and aficionados of French cooking back in the early 80's, way before the foodie revolution. It was in their home that I first became attuned to how beautifully food could be presented and how attention to balancing flavor and texture in a recipe makes such a difference!
2 pounds medium or large asparagus
1 small shallot, finely diced (2-3 TB)
2 TB vinegar (I prefer white wine or sherry vinegar)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
6 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 TB minced fresh chives, parsley or tarragon
Freshly ground pepper
Prepare the asparagus: Snap off and discard the tough bottoms of each asparagus spear. If using very thick asparagus, peel the lower ends with a vegetable peeler.
Fill a large pan that has sides with water. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 3-4 minutes, until just done (THINK AL DENTE). Remove the asparagus to a baking sheet lined with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
Cook the eggs: Fill a medium saucepan with water halfway, and bring to a boil. Carefully add the eggs, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool. Shell the eggs and set aside. Once cooled, chop the egg whites and the yolks separately, and keep in separate bowls until ready to assemble.
Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, place the shallots and vinegar, and let shallots soften for 5 minutes. Wisk in the mustard, and then whisk in the oil slowly to make a thick dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper, about ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Note: Some vinegars and mustards are stronger than others, so if you find the dressing too assertive, you can add a tablespoon or two of water. Also, if the dressing tastes to acidic, add a pinch more salt, and visa versa, if it’s too salty, add a bit more vinegar, or a squeeze of lemon.
Assembly: Place the asparagus on a serving dish. Pour the dressing over, then layer the chopped egg whites, chopped egg yolks and sprinkle with the minced chives.