Make no doubt about it, asparagus is sexy food even if the aftermath for some- that pungent scent in the bathroom is less so (due to sulphur-containing amino acids in the veg that break down during digestion). And as applies to many things in life, less is often more. It is hard to beat naked asparagus, grilled or steamed then adorned with a scatter of salt, some melted butter and a squirt of lemon juice. Or Asparagus with nothing more than salt even.
Lately though we have started livening things up in the kitchen department by experimenting with different tricks- after all they do say that variety is what keeps life in a marriage. Extending this life advice to ones kitchen isn’t to be sniffed at either although the only roasting going on in our house is in the asparagus department. Using this technique imbues the spears with a subtle smokiness that is a real departure from the expected grassiness of steamed asparagus, whilst scattering over the (optional) capers adds a metallic briny tinge. This recipe is shamelessly pinched from one of my kitchen Gods, David Lebovitz whose brand new book ‘My Paris Kitchen‘ was recently published to the delight of this acolyte. The usual flavours that Asparagus suits so well are beautifully referenced by the buttery stickiness of the egg yolks as they cook alongside and their golden colours (source of the ‘Mimosa’ name) are joyous to the eyes alongside the stomach.
Asparagus Mimosa by David Lebovitz
- 1 1/2 pounds (680g) green asparagus, washed and towel-dried (see above)
- olive oil
- sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- chopped flat-leaf parsley or chives, for garnish
- Capers for garnish are optional
1. Heat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC.)
2. Break off the tough bottoms of the asparagus stalk and peel the tough skin off the stalks of asparagus using thick spears. Drizzle a few spoonfuls of olive oil on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss the asparagus in the oil and roast in the oven, turning the spears a few times during roasting, for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender when you poke a knife into the stems. (But don’t overcook them) Do keep an eye on them if the spears are on the slender side- they make roast far more swiftly.
3. While the asparagus is cooking, hard-boil the eggs by bringing a small pot of water to a boil. Slide the eggs into the water carefully and reduce the heat to a low boil. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain water from the pot and add ice and cold water, then let the eggs sit in the water until cool.
4. Place the asparagus on a serving platter. Peel the eggs and use a cheese grater with large holes to grate the eggs over the asparagus. (Traditionally the eggs are pressed through a wide-mesh strainer, which you can do if you want them in smaller pieces.) Sprinkle the asparagus with chopped parsley, chives or a scattering of Capers and serve.