Asparagus Terrine with Tarragon Mayonnaise

by Apr 18, 2010


This might seem a fussy preparation for asparagus and eggs, but it is one of those magic French recipes that creates something exceptional from very simple ingredients. Blanch the asparagus, sauté the onions and make the mayonnaise the day before and you can have a satisfying and calm assembly project a couple hours before your friends arrive for brunch. Or just make the thing for yourself – it keeps well for several days and is fantastic on top of greens dressed with a simple vinaigrette.


Thanks go to Kathie Alex and her lovely cooking school at La Pitchoune, Cooking with Friends in France.



Asparagus Terrine with Tarragon Mayonnaise
serves 6


See ingredients for all 3, “Onions”, “Terrine”, and “Mayonnaise”, when shopping.


2 bunches organic asparagus, rinsed in water


1. Blanch asparagus in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes until tender-crisp, then immediately shock in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.



1 bunch spring onions (4 small with about half of the greens chopped off and discarded) OR 1 yellow onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon unrefined sugar

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized frying pan over medium-low heat. Add onions, cover and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


2. Sprinkle the sugar over the onions, increase heat to medium-high and stir until lightly browned. Add the garlic and vinegar and boil until the vinegar has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.




6 large, cage-free eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, minced

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a loaf pan (approximately 8x4x3 inches) and lay in a strip of parchment paper, cut to fit the length of the pan. (You can let the edges hang over, but trim to about an inch so there’s not too much paper flapping around in the oven.) Place the loaf pan in a larger baking pan that is at least as deep as the loaf pan. Pour enough water into the larger pan to come up 3/4 of the way up the sides of the loaf pan. Remove the loaf pan and place the larger pan with water in the oven to preheat for at least 15 minutes.


2. Lay the asparagus in the loaf pan, trimming to fit and alternating tip to end as you move across the pan in a single layer. Reserve the trimmings and tuck them in here and there, as you make 3 layers of asparagus, alternating with 1/3 of the onion mixture spread over the top of each asparagus layer.


3. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk with the salt, pepper and tarragon until well blended. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus in the loaf pan. Using a knife, jiggle the tip between the spears to make sure the egg gets distributed through to the bottom and between each spear. Lightly tap the loaf pan on your work surface to give the contents a final settle before going into the oven. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in the water bath.


4. Bake until the eggs are set and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean – about 1 hour. Remove from the water bath and let cool at least 15 minutes or until the terrine is at room temperature. When you’re ready to serve, unmold the terrine and slice into 1/2-1 inch slices. Serve over dressed greens with a sprinkle of fleur de sel and a dollop of the tarragon mayonnaise.



Tarragon Mayonnaise:

3/4 cup olive oil

1 large, cage-free egg yolk, at room temperature

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, minced

sea salt to taste


1. In the workbowl of a food processor, blend the egg yolk, mustard and vinegar for about a minute. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in a thin, continuous stream of the olive oil. Once emulsified (which should happen as you drizzle in the oil), turn off the motor, transfer mayonnaise to a glass jar or bowl and stir in the tarragon and salt to taste.



Amy’s Kitchen Coach Tips

  • To prepare the asparagus for blanching, rinse in water and snap the ends off each spear by holding just below the tip with one hand and at the end of the stem with the other then bending the spear. The asparagus will break naturally at the tender/fibrous boundary.
  • Prepare in advance: Up to 1 day before assembling the terrine…you can blanch the asparagus. Pull spears from ice bath and place on clean kitchen towel in a single layer. Roll up the towel, with the asparagus inside, and place in the refrigerator.
  • Prepare in advance: Sauté onions in advance (up to 1 day) and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the terrine.

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