Grilled Asparagus with Tangerine Mayonnaise

You will have more mayonnaise than you need. But that's good news, as it tastes great on all sorts of vegetables and on poached fish, and can be used to bind a chicken salad or as a sandwich spread. Alternative: Make this recipe using NapaStyle’s Broken Tangerine Vinaigrette.

By Michael Chiarello
Serves 4

  • 2 cups freshly squeezed tangerine juice
  • 2 tangerines
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Gray salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup pure olive oil, plus more for tossing with and brushing on asparagus
  • 2 large bunches asparagus, about 2 pounds total, trimmed and cooked for 3 minutes in boiling salted water, then cooled
  • Long curls of tangerine zest, fresh or candied
  • Coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts or pine nuts (optional)

Put the tangerine juice in a small non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup. Let cool to room temperature.

Peel the tangerines, removing all the white pith, and segment over a bowl to catch both the segments and the juices. Cover and refrigerate until very cold.

Combine the reduced juice, tarragon, egg yolk, and salt and pepper to taste in a blender and blend until well mixed. With the machine running, add the 1 cup olive oil, at first by drops and then, as mixture emulsifies, in a thin, steady stream until all the oil is incorporated. Taste for seasoning.

Scrape into a jar, cover, and refrigerate until needed. You should have about 1-2/3 cups mayonnaise. (Keeps 2 to 3 days, refrigerated.)

Prepare the grill for direct grilling over medium to low heat. Toss the cooled asparagus with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill over direct heat, turning the spears as needed, until they take on a little color and are just tender, about 6 minutes. Cover the grill if necessary to maintain the heat.

Arrange the asparagus on a platter with the reserved tangerine segments. Dot with the mayonnaise, and drizzle with any tangerine juice left in the bowl. Garnish with fresh or candied zest and the nuts, if using. Serve at once.

Chef's Note: Every cook has insecurities. One of mine is mayonnaise. I always get a little anxious until I see it coming together in the blender. If the mayonnaise is too thick, thin it, with the machine running, by pulsing in a little cool water. If you are concerned about raw eggs, use a pasteurized egg product or an egg substitute such as Egg Beaters.