The Way J. Kenji López-Alt Eats Asparagus May Surprise You

What's your favorite way to enjoy asparagus? Even if you think you don't like it, HuffPost is sure that you just haven't had asparagus the right way yet. They suggest roasting asparagus with oil and a little salt, or briefly blanching stalks in boiling water, so they retain a brilliant, green hue on veggie platters. Tasty suggests less subtle approaches, with recipes that fry asparagus spears in beer batter or bury them under a mound of melted cheddar cheese.

"The Food Lab" author J. Kenji López-Alt is definitely a big fan of asparagus, sharing on Serious Eats all there is to know about this favorite springtime vegetable. López-Alt gives readers his best tips for selecting, trimming, storing, and cooking asparagus. And while spelling out the steps for blanching asparagus, he lets slip one of his favorite ways to enjoy the stalks: "cold, with lemony mayo."

Mayo ... as in, mayonnaise? It's true! And because it's López-Alt, you know he's not talking about store-bought mayo. He recently shared on his Instagram account that asparagus dunked in his homemade, one-minute mayonnaise is his way of bringing two fabulous foods together.

Your reaction to this pairing is likely either that of mouth-watering intrigue or high revulsion, depending on if you're a mayo lover or not. While even fans of mayonnaise might be surprised by this combo, there is actually a long history of asparagus served with creamy sauces like mayonnaise.

It's a lot like this classic asparagus pairing

What's Cooking America describes mayonnaise as egg, vinegar, and oil blended to create a thick sauce. Mayonnaise evolved from Hollandaise sauce, which is a warm and velvety blend of clarified butter, egg yolks, and lemon juice. Food52 shares that Hollandaise is one of the five "mother sauces" used to create all other sauces.

So what's the connection with asparagus? According to How To Make Sauce, the first recorded recipe for Hollandaise was in the 1651 cookbook "Le Cuisinier Francois," and it was served with: asparagus. 

J. Kenji López-Alt via Serious Eats says that a great asparagus and veggie platter must include a superior dipping sauce. His homemade mayonnaise is the base for creamy dips like garlic aioli, herby Green Goddess dressing, or an elevated version of ranch dressing. And many others celebrate asparagus with mayonnaise.

The blog Lemon, Thyme and Ginger serves asparagus with orange mayonnaise, adapted from Deborah Madison's cookbook "Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone." Madison herself shared with L.A. Times readers a recipe for grilled asparagus with egg and caper sauce — a mayonnaise made with hard-cooked eggs. Betty Crocker likes steamed asparagus with tarragon mayonnaise. And Epicurious makes a spicy wasabi mayonnaise for their cold asparagus spears.

López-Alt now has us convinced that no one has had asparagus the right way until they try it with a rich, homemade mayonnaise.