While grilled asparagus is great, I prefer to either boil or steam the thickest stalks I can find. These gentle methods of cooking allow the natural sweetness of asparagus to shine. Choose larger, thicker asparagus, which are sweeter and more tender than thinner stalks.
Asparagus pairs well with any number of ingredients including potatoes, good ham like prosciutto, parmesan and cooked eggs. It can be served simply with sea salt and olive oil, dressed with a bright vinaigrette or napped with a rich butter sauce such as hollandaise. I plan on enjoying asparagus in all its guises this season.
This dish includes another of a series of experiments in egg cookery – the six-minute egg. It’s hard to mess this up unless time is just ignored completely.
Older eggs are said to peel easier so, to test this theory, I ran out and bought the freshest eggs I could find. I’m pretty sure the advice about older eggs is spot on, because the fresh eggs proved to be more difficult to peel than any others I have prepared. The outer whites got beat up from the tedious peeling process but despite this ugliness, these eggs were great with the asparagus.
This simple recipe showcases the sweetness of early season, local asparagus. Ingredients are for a single serving. It was served as a starter before a dish of brined pork that may be found here.
- Three to four large, thick asparagus stalks with woody lower stalks removed
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 1/2 tablespoon of grated Parmigiano Reggiano, or more to taste
- Pinch of flaked, or large grain sea salt
- A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
- A drizzle of very high quality extra virgin olive oil
- In a large saucepan, bring 4-5 cups of salted water to a boil. Submerge the trimmed asparagus in the boiling water and cook for three minutes. Remove the asparagus to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Place one egg and one reserve egg in a medium saucepan. Add water to just cover the eggs. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Once the water begins to boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and let stand with the eggs for six minutes. After six minutes remove the eggs to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
- To serve, arrange the asparagus on a serving plate. Peel the eggs and cut in half. Place these on the serving plate with the asparagus. Sprinkle with Parmesan, sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over the asparagus and serve.