Asparagus joy oh joy! I can’t think of another seasonal ingredient that excites as much as asparagus. It takes three years to create a crop, in my opinion, the required patience adding to its status (what other vegetable takes three years to fruit?). But once it’s there, it’s there, and every May an abundance will appear. For around 12 weeks only, people will happily eat asparagus every day, for days and days on end, its versatility stretches from breakfast through to dinner, served hot or cold, as an accompaniment or as the star of the plate. Superb simply poached, grilled or roasted, delicious as tempura, sautéed or shaved raw in a salad. One of the best ways I ever had asparagus was what I would have before considered over cooked in a microwave on low power, bathed in butter and sea salt, really satisfying, the ‘over cooking’ giving a whole new depth of flavour. Then there was the asparagus wrapped in potato sheets and deep fried crisp from Daniel Clifford’s Midsummer House in Cambridge, a truly amazing dish.
The following recipe can be a special breakfast, a light lunch or dinner, a starter or main course.
Soft boiled fried egg, asparagus and Serrano ham
Soft boiled fried egg, ham and asparagus
1 large egg
2 thin slices of Serrano ham
4-5 asparagus spears
A few dressed leaves
A little flour
A few breadcrumbs
A little lightly whisked egg
Place the egg gently into boiling water for 6 minutes, take out, place into cold water, cool and peel.
Wrap your ham around the egg, so that your egg is covered
Roll the egg in flour, tap any excess flour off, then dip in the whisked egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs
Heat a pan of sunflower oil, or a deep fat fryer to 160oc
Boil a pan of water
Trim any woody ends off the asparagus, and plunge into the water with a little salt, and boil for about 4-5 minutes, remove, allow to steam dry, and place on your plate
Deep fry the egg for 1 minute, until the breadcrumbs are golden and crisp, remove, place on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil, then place on your plate next to the asparagus
Toss a few salad leaves in a mustardy salad dressing and sprinkle over your dish