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New Season Asparagus with a Poached Egg

New Season Asparagus with a Poached Egg

It’s such a relief when the world starts to wake up again after Winter. Flowers bloom releasing their soft scents in the air, and fruit and vegetables become more lively and interesting. I love Winter vegetables, but they are few, and the bright and broad range offered by late Spring is very welcome.

Favourites for this time of year are varied, but asparagus has got to lead the pack. I love it fried and dipped in molten egg, whether that’s boiled, fried or poached is irrelevant, but that egg yolk has got to be soft. I like to fry the asparagus spears, sometimes wrapped in ham but most often on it’s own, so that I can savour the flavour.

This particular brunch, I wanted a poached egg, sometimes with a tender tum there is nothing better. It was my breakfast of choice on the morning of exams in University, when my stomach would be shredded by adrenaline and needed the comfort of something soft, comforting and delicate, that would also power me through the morning, as I desperately tried to kick start brain cells into action after very little sleep and way too much caffeine. Poached egg on toast it was. Now, as a wage earning member of society, I decadently accompany it with asparagus and savour every morsel.

Poaching eggs requires a little dedication, although not much. You need very fresh eggs, as fresh as you can get, or they won’t form that lovely oval shape when you drop them into the water. The water should not be boiling, it should be just before, when delicate bubbles rise to the surface, not unlike a glass of champagne. Add some vinegar to the water, about a tablespoon, white is best so you don’t discolour the egg. . Some salt for seasoning, and you’re good to go. Stir the water quite vigorously (without splashing yourself!) until you get a whirlpool effect. Drop your egg into the middle, it might be easier if you’ve cracked it already and have it in a glass or ramekin. The whirlpool will pull it together into a nice oval shape, the vinegar helps the egg white congeal quicker and take that perfect shape, and if it’s fresh enough, it will obediently follow, and form a perfect poached egg. It doesn’t take long to cook, I keep an eye on it, and when the white is set but the yolk still wobbly, I retrieve it, and add it to my plate.

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I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

38 Comments

  1. I’m SO glad it’s asparagus season again! I refuse to eat it when it’s out of season… it just isn’t the same. Lightly steamed for me, so it’s still crunchy, drizzled with some olive oil and seasoned with salt and black pepper… then dunked into a soft boiled egg! Who needs toast soldiers when you have asparagus? ;-)

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  2. you make poaching eggs sound so easy! I guess I will have to keep on trying but am afraid that I’ll never master it!

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  3. Eggs and asparagus, that’s the perfect match. I haven’t seen any new season asparagus yet, but this let’s me hope that it won’t be long!

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  4. And yet them supermarkets still sell Peruvian asparagus throughout the English season. :(

    I live 10 mins from Borough Market but the costs are quite prohibitive – oh, for a decent greengrocer!

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  5. I have not seen any English asparagus yet but now I am keeping my eyes peeled!

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  6. I’m off to Borough market on Friday and have high hopes for some English asparagus, I’ve been patiently waiting for what seems like months now!

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  7. This looks great. I love the fact that the spears are all different sizes. You’ve got the daddy spear on the left and the young whipper snappers on the right.

    Have you seen Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall’s tecnhnique where he adds a drop of cider vinegar and butter to the egg yolks and you get a sort of home made hollandaise?

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  8. Lol… don’t know how many places have this on their menu right now! I can’t go to a restaurant without it being on the menu.

    By the by, a good tip for poaching eggs for beginners (which the guys at Simpsons kindly taught me) is to wrap the egg in a bit of cling film so you get a perfect symmetrical shape. This also means you won’t need to drain the egg after poaching it. Personally I have never used this trick but something to keep in mind if your egg is less than fresh.

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  9. @Charmaine I know It always seems so far away! I particularly love sprue, I must get to the farmer’s market and get some. I agree, asparagus makes the best soldiers! Delicious. Steamed is good too, yum.

    @winesleuth it really isn’t all that difficult, I promise, the age of the egg is the most important thing. :)

    @ThisLittleLady thank you! I love this combination, it’s a classic, but classics are classics for a reason!

    @Sylvie I hope that you find some soon and can indulge :) Enjoy!

    @Lise nothing is permanent and if you can eat it you should :)

    @Lizzie I know! That drives me crazy. Once the season is in full swing it should be cheaper, but right now, it’s at a premium. Farmer’s markets will probably be cheaper than Borough.

    @realfoodlover do! and enjoy :)

    @Kerri you’ll definitely find it! Enjoy!

    @William thank you! That’s quite a compliment :)

    @Jonathan Thanks! I loved that HFW episode, such a great idea! I must try it. Have you tried it?

    @neil thanks! I did read on your blog, very brave effort! I was impressed. I use what I was taught in school. Works usually (once the eggs are fresh enough).

    @Sacha thanks! Decadence tastes the best :)

    @gen.u.ine.ness well, it is a classic! Driven by quality ingredients, and simple homecooked food. I must confess I’ve not seen it on many restaurant menus lately myself. I am not an advocate of the cling film technique, I am too much of a purist, especially when the original way really isn’t all that bad. You don’t need to drain an egg after poaching it if you use a slotted spoon. It’s not as scary as everyone thinks at all.

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  10. I really can’t think of anything better than English asparagus. I pick mine from a “pick your own” field near Goring in Oxfordshire (on the Wallingford Road). I like the way the stalks stick out of the bare earth at intervals, and you just snap them off. I’ve never served it with a runny poached egg on top before- an excellent idea.

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    • Lovely! I plan to do pick your own soon. I had a tiny taste of it at Celia Brooks Brown’s allotment recently! I love asparagus with a runny egg yolk. Perfect combination. :)

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  11. Well, I tried it but didn’t use fresh egss, think that really does make all the difference! Fried my asparagus with bacon wrapped round it – decadent!! Thanks for the recipe, this one is a keeper!

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    • It really does, Denise! Get fresh eggs from your local farmer’s market. Bacon and asparagus = yum! Delighted you enjoyed it :)

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  12. Poached eggs and aspargus is truly a combination made in heaven. I suse the same technique as you for poaching eggs but they never turn out perfect – am thinking of investing in some of those little plastic things although I realise this is cheating!

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  13. Spring is certainly sprung. I’d definitely vote for the poached egg with the asparagus rather than the fried egg.

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  14. What a perfect poached egg! I am definitely going to try the whirlpool effect in future. I have tried the clingwrap method, secured with those useful plastic clips from IKEA and it works a treat :)

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    • Thanks Jeanne! It works, just make sure the eggs are fresh. I’ve never tried the cling film version although I have seen it blogged and they look good!

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  16. It is such a beayty of a classic dish: every time I make this it still is delicious! Love it!

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