Nearly everyone knows about asparagus with hollandaise, but if you don’t know that tart raspberries are great with mild asparagus, try this on for size. This recipe marries both of these elements without being as complicated as making a hollandaise. It’s tangy and creamy without the fuss, and the vibrant colors are remarkable. Making this salad means only cooking one thing over a heating element. The sauce whisks together in a bowl. —Chef Jen's Crappy Little Chuckwagon
Fill a stockpot half way with water and place it over a high heat. While your pot of water is coming to a boil, fill a large bowl half way up with heavily iced, water. When bubbles begin to form at the bottom, add a pinch of your salt. If it sinks to the bottom, your water isn’t hot enough, so wait 5 more minutes and try again. If a cloud forms as the salt is dissolved, your water is ready. Now you may continue adding salt, a little at a time, until the cloud no longer forms and the salt settles at the bottom. This means that your water is “super saturated” and perfectly salted.
Trim the woody bottoms off the asparagus. When the water reaches a rolling boil, carefully drop in one handful of asparagus. Allow them to boil for 2 minutes, and then use your tongs or spider to remove the asparagus from the water and drop them into the bowl of ice water. Wait for the stockpot to again reach a rolling boil and repeat this step as many times as needed to cook and chill all the asparagus. Then remove them from the ice water and pat them dry with a clean towel.
In a small bowl, whisk the raspberry vinegar, mustard, crème fraiche, and white pepper together. Season to your tastes with salt.
Divide the asparagus evenly among 4 salad plates, drizzle the dressing through the middle of each pile of asparagus, and garnish the plates with the fresh raspberries. To present on a platter, pile the asparagus high in a long and jagged “fence post” fashion, but dress and garnish it the same.