SPARANGI TIS SKARAS ME MANTARINI SALTSA
When asparagus is in season, I cook this dish every week. You can dress it up for a frou-frou formal dinner, but it's easy enough to set out with a simple salad or burgers. I made this aioli after seeing stall after stall of beautiful citrus fruit in the farmers' market in Athens. You can substitute just about any citrus juice for the tangerine in this recipe: try it with Meyer lemons or the juice from really beautiful oranges.
1. To make the aioli, in a saucepan, bring the tangerine juice to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until reduced to a little more than 1 cup, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
2. Combine the egg yolks, garlic, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Process at medium-high speed to blend, then very slowly add the 2 1/4 cups olive oil in a thin stream through the pouring hole while the machine is running. When the mixture has thickened, turn off the machine, add the reduced tangerine juice, and pulse until well mixed. Add the 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. If the aioli is too thick, add a little water. Refrigerate while you prepare the asparagus.
3. Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to high.
4. Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Snap off the tough end of each asparagus spear and with a vegetable peeler or paring knife peel halfway up the stalk. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and blanch for 3 to 4 minutes. While the asparagus is cooking, pour ice water into a large bowl. Drain the asparagus and immediately immerse in the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again.
5. Brush the asparagus with olive oil and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Grill until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes on each side. Let cool. To serve, top with the aioli.