Roasted Asparagus with Poached Eggs


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1 pound thin asparagus stalks (Feb, March, April are good months for asparagus)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
olive oil for brushing and drizzling
2/3 cup white wine vinegar (Actually any vinegar should work... I don't remember which one I used but it was definitely not wine vinegar)
6 eggs
Parmesan shavings, to serve

1. There is no need to peel the asparagus, but if it is thick, snap off any woody stalks at the point where they break easily.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Melt the butter in a pan. Add the breadcrumbs (I used the crumbs of wheat bread which was available at home) and fry, stirring often, until crisp; remove from the heat. Season and stir in lemon zest and parsley.

3. Lay the asparagus on a greased cookie sheet and brush them with oil. Roast for 12 - 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, half fill a saucepan with water. add the vinegar and bring to a boil. Crack in the eggs from a height of about 4 inches (this gives them a good round shape). Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, until the white is firm. using a slotted spoon transfer the eggs to a bowl of warm water (I left them in the saucepan in which I boiled them, and that worked out fine)

5. Arrange the asparagus on plates. Drizzle with more oil and scatter the Parmesan shavings over. Spoon the eggs on top and sprinkle with the crumbs. Season with coarse sea salt (I used normal salt) and black pepper.

Asparagus and Soft Egg Tartlets


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For the pastry dough
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons of butter (cut into small pieces)
1 small egg

For the filling
4 ounces thin asparagus stalks
salt and pepper
4 eggs
2 tablespoons light cream
1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan or sharp cheddar cheese
grated nutmg

1. To make the dough, place the flour in a food processor. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the egg and work briefly to form a dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the asparagus into 2 inch pieces. Bring a large pan of salted water to boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 5 minutes, drain and cool quickly in cold water.

3. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll out each piece and use to line four 4-inch tartlet pans. (You can find tartlet pans anywhere and you can get them for a dollar or something each. In the above photo the pan at the back is tartlet pan). Trim off the excess dough with a sharp knife. set the pans on a cookie sheet. Line each dough shell with a circle of foil and half fill with baking beans or uncooked rice. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for 3-4 minutes longer, until the pastry is crisp and light golden.

4. Divide the asparagus among the tartlets, then break an egg into each. Drizzle the cream over and sprinkle with the grated cheese, a little nutmeg, and salt and papper. Return to the oven for 5-8 minutes, until the egg is just set and the top lightly browned.

5. Serve warm or cold.