Sometimes the best things to eat happen to be the easiest to make.
Like this meal…one of my absolute favorites. Roasted asparagus…poached eggs… crispy pancetta… a drizzle of hollandaise sauce… Perfection!
Omit the pancetta and you have a vegetarian meal. Great for a meatless Monday (or any day) meal.
Asparagus season is in full bloom in Michigan. It’s the height of the season and asparagus will be available at the local farms for another 2 weeks or so. Just enough time to get my
overdose fill of one of my favorite veggies.
There is a farm a mere 2.4 miles from my home that offers fresh picked asparagus by the pound. Lucky me! There is nothing like eating asparagus a few hours after it is picked… Mmm mmm good.
Even though I learned to store this humble vegetable upright in a container containing an inch or so of water (extending it’s “shelf life” for weeks), it doesn’t last that long around here this time of year. It’s simply too good and too versatile.My favorite preparation methods are grilled and roasted. If the grill is heated up for something like chicken or steak, I’ll prepare the asparagus in a grill pan…lightly oiled with salt and pepper. If not, roasting it is! Again, just a wee bit of oil (olive) and seasoned with sea salt and pepper and roasted at 375°F for about 7 minutes.
And NO overcooked asparagus, please… slightly crisp, yet tender. A lovely vibrant green will do just fine.
This meal doesn’t really have a “recipe”… it’s more of a procedure. Just four (simple to make) elements lead to one delicious meal!
The “recipe” below gives a breakdown of the per person serving amounts and a link for a “how to poach an egg” video.
Roasted Asparagus w/Poached Eggs & Pancetta
INGREDIENTS per Person:
1/3 pound asparagus
1 Tablespoon pancetta, diced and pan crisped
1 Tablespoon Hollandaise sauce
For ROASTING ASPARAGUS:
Ingredients needed for preparation: Olive oil, salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Gently bend cut end of washed asparagus and the ends will miraculously break where they need to. Place asparagus on baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil; salt and pepper to taste. Roast approximately 7 minutes or until crisp tender. (The tips will begin to brown ever so slightly.)
For POACHING EGGS:
Ingredient needed for preparation: 1 Tablespoon or so of distilled white vinegar
Note: I use a 5 quart Dutch oven (about 5 inches deep and 10 inches in diameter). It can easily accommodate 6 eggs without a problem. Fewer eggs? Use a smaller pot. More eggs? Use a wider pot.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, get the eggs ready. Crack each egg into a measuring cup or small glass. Something with a handle works best, as shown below. (This will save your hands for boiling water burns!)
Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat until a gentle, soft boil is achieved. You’re looking for a few bubbles of water breaking the surface at a time. No splashing, crazy boiling.
Add about a Tablespoon or so of vinegar to the water. This will help the egg whites stay together.
One at a time, add the eggs to the gently boiling water. DO NOT “drop” the eggs in… lower the measuring cup (or whatever vessel you’re using) to the water surface and “pour” the egg in the water. Cook for 4 minutes to achieve firm whites and a soft, runny yolk.
Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon. Allow excess water to drip off and, if desired, pat dry with paper towels.
A how to video from the kitchn can be viewed, here.
For the HOLLANDAISE SAUCE:
Ingredients needed for preparation:
4 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt
Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume.
Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler). The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk rapidly. Be cautious to NOT let the eggs too hot or you’ll risk them scrambling.
Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened.
Remove from the heat and whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use. If upon standing, the sauce becomes too thick, whisk in a few drops of water before serving.
For the CRISPED PANCETTA:
Simply place about 3 ounces of diced pancetta in a small skillet (spritzed with cooking spray) over medium heat. Stir often. Cook until lightly browned and crispy; about 10 minutes. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon to drain any fat.
Make toast if desired…
Lay stalks of asparagus on each plate (Number of stalks will vary based on thickness of asparagus… I had about 12 stalks per plate). Top each asparagus bundle with 2 poached eggs. Drizzle with hollandaise and top with pancetta. Eat!