I couldn’t resist a bunch of English asparagus in Waitrose a couple of days ago; it’s almost the end of the short season (April – June) and fresh English asparagus is so delicious. I decided to cook it this evening with some eggs. It’s become a habit of mine on Tuesday evenings, when I go out early for my book group, to have eggs of some kind – usually an omelette, sometimes a more fancy frittata, or simple scrambled eggs. But tonight with the asparagus I thought I’d fry a couple of eggs. In a little olive oil with butter; a touch of luxury and very tasty.
I’ve been steaming asparagus or making risottos with it over the past few weeks, but tonight decided to roast it. I haven’t done that for years but once it was my go-to way of cooking asparagus, a tip picked up from Joanne Harris of Chocolat fame, who co-authored The French Kitchen (published 2002), which is full of lovely recipes and photos.
Roasting so often brings out the best in vegetables; the flavour becomes more intense and this is just a wonderful way to enjoy asparagus.
Roasted Asparagus with Fried Eggs – Serves 1-2
- 1 bunch (340g) asparagus
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- balsamic vinegar
- 2-4 eggs
Snap the ends of the asparagus. They’ll break at just the right place to remove the woody ends.
Lay the asparagus spears in a shallow ovenproof pan. Drizzle over a little olive oil (about a couple of tablespoons). With your hands, gently roll the spears round so they’re nicely coated with the oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Put into a preheated oven (200C/180 Fan/Gas 6) for 10-15 minutes. Timing will depend a bit on the thickness of your asparagus. I tested mine with a small sharp knife after 10 minutes and they needed a bit more time. You don’t want them soft though; nicely al dente.
Drizzle over a little more oil and some balsamic vinegar. Shave thin slices of Parmesan over the top.
Fry the eggs (2 per person). Lay the asparagus on a serving plate (dividing in two if you are making this for two people). Lay the eggs alongside and serve with some nice fresh sourdough bread to mop up the runny egg yolk and asparagus juices.
Simplicity itself but utterly wonderful. The asparagus tastes so good roasted like this and it always seems to cook more evenly than steaming (even in one of those posh special asparagus steamers). Eggs are a perfect accompaniment, especially when the yolk is still runny so you can dip the end of the asparagus spears in it. It was a bit more special than my usual omelette – but still light, which is what you want before an evening of serious book discussion!