Sunday, April 1, 2012

Asparagus and Eggs

These two ingredients pair so well together - and have a long list of different ways in which they can be prepared. This article in the New York Times says it all. This dish is a little inspired by this asparagus dish I had at an Italian restaurant, which had roasted the asparagus and served a cheesy polenta over it. Not quite polenta, but it has the same richness and yellow color, plus I was trying to come up with something breakfasty so I paired eggs with the asparagus instead!

Roast the asparagus in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Rinse the asparagus and cut off the tough, thick ends. You can toss it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper but the actual act of roasting the asparagus brings out its flavors more so than sauteeing or boiling or any other form of cooking.

While the asparagus is roasting, heat up about 2 inches of water in a medium saucepan. Bring the water to a simmer (rolling boil), and add 1 TB of cider vinegar plus a little salt right before you're ready to cook your eggs (which will take about 3-4 minutes). Okay, now get ready, because you're about to try to poach an egg! I will admit this was maybe my 2nd time trying so I'm certainly no expert here.
The directions from Martha Stewart I followed: Bring a large skillet with 2 inches of water to a simmer over medium heat. Add cider vinegar and season with salt. Break one egg at a time into a cup, then tip cup into pan. Simmer until whites are set and yolks are soft but slightly set, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spatula, scoop out eggs one at a time and drain on paper towels. With a paring knife, trim edges.
Attempt #1(above) - sort of a fail. I've heard that spinning the water, stirring around the edges helps keep the egg together, but that didn't seem to help much with my first attempt. I think my water was too hot, so the boiling of the water made the egg move around too much. 3 minutes ended up being too long when the water was that hot.
Attempt #2 (left) - turned the water down and actually put the pink bowl into the water so that the egg wasn't dropping into the water. Also took it out sooner than 3 minutes, since it seemed to be too long the first time.
I also have this beautiful vanilla balsamic vinegar that I thought would go great on top of this dish, so I mixed 1 tsp of balsamic with 1 tsp of lemon juice and drizzled that over the asparagus and egg. I also added some halved cherry tomatoes in with the asparagus about 5 minutes before the asparagus was done to have those with the dish too. The last step is just to put the dish together - the roasted asparagus on bottom, poached eggs on top, drizzled with the balsamic mixture and then sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese.
This dish could easily fit into an appetizer, brunch, breakfast or light meal category, so go ahead and take your pick for when you'd like to eat it!

Hint: The thinner the asparagus the better. Thick asparagus can be very tough and stalky, so I don't buy it unless it's pretty thin.

Also, if you've had a correctly poached egg, you know the yolk is supposed to be runny still. Mine wasn't quite there - I could've cooked it just a tad less, but it was close!

No comments:

Post a Comment