Friday, March 28, 2008

Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg & Parmesan: It's Springtime for Vegetables (and Germany)

Two quick things before today’s recipe:

1) Last December, I posted a recipe for Wacky Cake, a vegan chocolate delight guaranteed to caress your taste buds like a gentle, fudgy lover. As I’m dumb, there was a typo in the calculations and I listed a single teaspoon of vinegar at $0.93. It should have been $0.03, which makes the final per-piece total a staggering $0.09 (instead of $0.17). Just another reason to go home and bake 12 of the dang thing.

2) I’m reading A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain right now. I loved Kitchen Confidential SO HARD, and I think I’m liking this even more. The guy can flat-out write, and his cultural observations are as riveting and funny as his culinary insights. I want to make out with his brain. Has anyone read his fiction stuff? Is it as good? Do tell.

Anyway, business. We’re edging slowly into Spring up here in NYC, which means between the tri-weekly monsoons, it’s possible to steal out and gaze in anticipatory wonder at the first green vegetables of the season. Salad greens are making an appearance, as are artichokes and baby garlic. But even better are the asparagus. They’re going at local supermarkets for under $2, and in Chinatown for $0.50 a bunch. ('Round here, this is the grocery equivalent of buying a Lexus for a twenty you found on the street.)

Inspired by this inexpensive onslaught of emerald stalky things and this post from The Kitchn, I decided to try Roasted Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Parmesan.

AND I LOVED IT.

Loved it loved it loved it loved it loved it loved it.

The Boyfriend did, too. I’ll be serving it to his parents when they come to visit in May, because I want them to think nothing but wonderful things about me. (I’m an excellent housekeeper, Nobel Laureate, fart rainbows, etc.) The parmesan and breadcrumbs give it a light, crunchy crust, while the egg, poached to perfection via the whirlpool method, drowns everything in a yolky, creamy pool of magic. Gah. I want more right now, but alas, am stuck at work. Thanks a lot JOB, a.k.a. You Which Allows Me to Survive but Deprives Me of Time I Could be Making Asparagussy Wonderment.

Oh, and hey - a tip, should you try it yourself: if there’s a Trader Joe’s nearby, get thee hence. Their large eggs are only $1.79/dozen, and that beats any of BK’s local competition by at least 60 cents. (“BK” is Brooklyn, not Burger King in this case.) I think it might be comparable ‘round the country.

Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg & Parmesan
Serves 4
Adapted from The Kitchn.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
20 asparagus spears, trimmed (or tough ends snapped off)
2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon unflavored vinegar
4 large eggs
2 ounces grated parmesan
 (optional: 4 strips thinly sliced prosciutto)

1) Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2) In a small bowl, toss asparagus with oil to coat. Salt and pepper to taste. Place on baking sheet. Roast around 10 or 11 minutes, until asparagus is tender. Sprinkle veggies with bread crumbs and then stick it back in the oven for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven, split among 4 plates, and keep warm.

3) While asparagus is roasting, "bring 2 quarts of water to a boil with vinegar and salt." Drop heat to low. When it becomes a simmer, make a brisk, gentle whirlpool in the water with your spoon. "Crack an egg into a cup." Slowly add egg to whirlpool. (It should migrate towards the middle.) Do the same thing for egg #2, stirring every so often to keep the whirlpool going.

4) Cook between 3 1/2 and 4 minutes. When finished, with a slotted spoon, lightly place one on each plate of asparagus. Sprinkle parm on top, and prosciutto if using. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

5) Starting from Step 2, repeat process for eggs #3 and #4.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
201.5 calories, 13 g fat, $0.94

Calculations
1 Tbsp. olive oil: 119 calories, 13.5 g fat, $0.08
20 asparagus spears: 90 calories, 0.5 g fat, $1.99
2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs: 55 calories, 0.8 g fat, $0.03
1 tablespoon salt: negligible calories and fat, $0.02
1 teaspoon unflavored vinegar: 3 calories, 0 g fat, $0.03
4 large very fresh eggs: 294 calories, 19.9 g fat, $0.60
1 2-ounce piece Parmesan cheese: 245 calories, 16.3 g fat, $1.00
TOTAL: 806 calories, 51 g fat, $3.75
PER SERVING: 201.5 calories, 13 g fat, $0.94

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6 comments:

Kacie said...

A big LOL at The Producers reference!

Kristen said...

Oooh, that is a good price for asparagus. I haven't seen it that cheap in my aread yet(MD)....I'll have to check out the farmer's markets once they open up.

JJ (Lady Di) said...

I like to grill (or broil if the weathers not nice) the asparagus, after tossing it with a bit of garlic, salt and fresh ground black pepper (actually the same mixture I use when grilling red potatoes now that I think about it). I pan-fry an egg (sunny-side up it) and then serve with Parmesan and an English Muffin. Hubby loves them and they are very points (Weight Watchers-wise) friendly and yummy! And I who doesn't even like runny yolks - this is the only way I'll eat runny yolks because the parmesan makes such a yummy sauce with it!

The other thing, I requested "Typhoid Mary" by Anthony Bourdain at the library to see if they could get it through interlibrary loan since they didn't have it and it was listed in the bibliography of a book I had just finished (on the Yellow Plague in Philadelphia). They actually bought the book instead! Anyway, I'm now reading it, and I'm finding it just as enjoyable as the rest of his books. It is nice because he actually starts it out from the view point of a cook, and states as much. I'm not very far into it yet, since I just picked it up yesterday. But it's quite neat. He said he didn't know much about her before starting the book, and I am starting from the same point so I hope to learn a lot.

Jaime said...

Ooh, whereabouts in Chinatown do you find this magical cheap asparagus?

Kris said...

JJ, let me know how it turns out, and thanks!

Jaime - right on Canal? Who knew?

****Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife**** said...

Thanks for participating in this week's Make It From Scratch Carnival #58 at

http://lifelessonsmilitarywife.blogspot.com/2008/04/make-it-from-scratch-58-april-fools.html