Asparagus spears cloaked with a rosey-hued sauce may be served as a luncheon dish or an elegant first course. For an extra-special touch, garnish each plate with a thin slice of Westphalian ham folded into a cornucopia.
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and peeled
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Boil, steam, or bake the asparagus until crisp-tender. Transfer to a heated platter and keep warm in an oven set at 200°.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the wine, butter, and tarragon. Cook over medium heat until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the mayonnaise. Stir over low heat to warm gently. Sprinkle the asparagus spears with salt and pepper, then pour the sauce over the spears. Serve immediately.