This fennel, radish, and asparagus salad is spring on a plate. Not only does it bring together a host of vibrant spring vegetables, it highlights one of spring's best seasonal offerings, the egg. Steamed (rather than hard-boiled), the eggs cook up with a silky golden yolk that contrasts beautifully with the layers of green asparagus and red-tipped radish slices. Finally, the asparagus salad is drizzled with a creamy buttermilk-lime dressing, made with hints of honey and mustard, the brings everything together.
Recently, I began steaming my hard-boiled eggs according to this method. For everyday eating, I like the yolks runny and cook them 6 - 7 minutes. Here, I was after a firm but not quite opaque yolk and cooked them for 9 minutes.
Prep shaved vegetables either very carefully with a mandoline slicer (I bought a protective glove for this and it's made mandoline work much simpler and safer) or with a very sharp knife.
Next, prepare dressing. In a small bowl, combine shallot, sea salt, Dijon, and lime juice. In another bowl, whisk olive oil into Greek yogurt. Next, drizzle in buttermilk, whisking constantly. Finally, fold in shallot mixture. Taste and add sea salt as needed. Set in fridge to chill while you prepare salad.
Bring a large pot (preferably one that accommodates a steamer insert) filled with salted water to a boil. Blanch asparagus just until tender, about 1 minute. Remove from water and immerse in an ice bath. Wait 1 minute, then remove to a clean towel to drain. Cut the length of thick spears into quarters and small ones into halves, then cut lengths in half so you have 4-inch strips. Sprinkle with sea salt. Set aside.
Add 1- to 2-inches water to the same pot and bring to a boil. Arrange eggs in steamer insert and carefully lower into pot. Cover and cook 9 minutes. Remove from heat; plunge eggs into ice water. Allow eggs to cool completely in water, then peel under cold running water. Halve eggs.
To assemble salad, tip out any accumulated juices from the fennel and radish mixture. Toss with 3 tablespoons buttermilk dressing and half the minced parsley. In wide swathes, arrange fennel-radish mixture, asparagus, and halved eggs on a platter. Drizzle with buttermilk dressing. Finish with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, remaining minced parsley, and chive blossoms (if using). Serve immediately.
To make a day ahead, prep fennel-radish mixture, dressing, asparagus strips, and whole peeled eggs. Halve eggs and follow salad assembly instructions above just before serving.