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.