Saturday, December 20, 2008

Roasted Asparagus: Sublime Simplicity

I can't believe it's taken me this long to post one of my most favorite recipes: Roasted asparagus with poached eggs. It's so unbelievably simple and, yes, absolutely sublime. AND a much healthier take on asparagus with hollandaise. Trust me, you will never ever reach for hollandaise as a complement to asparagus again.

Roasted Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Parmigiano

2 pounds asparagus
Sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Parmigiano reggiano or similar sharp italian cheese
Optional: Red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus; where they snap a good indicator of the unpalatable chewy part of the stalk. On a broiler pan lay out the asparagus. Coat asparagus in olive oil and sprinkle liberally with seal salt and freshly ground pepper (and red pepper flakes if you do so choose). Toss to coat. Roast the asparagus for 12-15 minutes until it darkens slightly in color and the tips are slightly crispy from the salt.

Bring about 1 1/2 inches of water to a simmer in a skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to the water to help the eggs bind together once placed in the water. One at a time, break each egg into a small cup. Slip eggs carefully into simmering water. Cook for around 3 minutes for still runny yolks. Cook for 1-2 minutes longer for firmer yolks. Lift the poached eggs with a slotted spoon to allow the excess water to drain.

Place the roasted aspargus on a platter and the poached eggs on top. Freshly grate or shave the parmigiano on top. The heat of the aspargus and eggs will slightly melt the grated cheese.

I'll eat this for dinner by itself. Vegetable, protein, salty Italian cheese. That's sublime simplicity on a plate!

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