Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Perfect Poached Eggs with Lemon Butter Asparagus

I think one of the most lovely and (yes, I'll say it) sensual foods is the poached egg. A little bit difficult to master, but so, so good on pretty much anything. As part of a crisp salad with bacon, totally awesome... On toast, simply divine... As the integral part of Eggs Benedict, absolutely... But one of my favorite ways to serve a perfectly creamy, lush, poached egg is on a bed of sauteed asparagus with lemon and butter. Oh, man!

The egg is an all in one food; as you break the yolk, the bright yellow liquid makes its own buttery sauce that contrasts with deliciously simple and lightly lemony green asparagus. This is one of those dishes where the simplest flavors are the best flavors.

The theory is straightforward - heat some water and add a little white vinegar. Swish the water around and dump your egg in for about 4 minutes. Ta-Da! Perfect poached egg! ...but why does it look like THAT? Hmm... Maybe it's not so simple. So here are some tips: Heat is a huge factor in getting the perfect egg. Finding the point between 'hot' and 'low boil' is the trick. The whirlpool action is also crucial to getting the egg to wrap around itself. With a little practice, this can become your go-to breakfast to impress, or a late night dinner after work.

Poached Eggs and Sauteed Asparagus in Lemon & Butter

For the Poached Eggs

desired number of eggs, poaching one at a time
3-4 inches of water in a medium saucepan
1 tablespoon white vinegar
a plate with several sheets of paper towels
a small bowl or ramekin
a slotted spoon

Heat a medium saucepan with 3-4 inches of water on medium heat. Allow to come to just before a boil, looking for lots of tiny bubbles on the bottom of the pot, but not actually boiling. This is very important, never have the water boiling!

 Stir in 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and break up the bubbles on the bottom of the pot.

Crack your egg into a small bowl or ramekin, making sure not to break the yolk. Take your slotted spoon and "whirlpool" your water around until you pick up some speed and then carefully slide your egg into the 

Cook the egg for 4 minutes, making sure the water does not boil. Turn down the heat if necessary. You might see little strands of egg white drifting from the egg, that's ok. You can trim these off. If your egg looks like it is starting to stick to the bottom of the pot, give it a gentle nudge with your slotted spoon.

After 4 minutes, gently scoop your poached egg with the slotted spoon and deposit onto the plate with the paper towels. Allow to rest just a moment to drain the extra water.

Note: you can always reheat your egg before serving by submerging it into the poaching water for a moment or two. Just be gentle. This is very handy when you are making many poached eggs for a large crowd and want to get ahead of the orders.

 For the Sauteed Asparagus with Butter & Lemon

10-12 asparagus spears, washed and trimmed (for 1 portion)
1 tablespoon butter
a squirt of fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

In a medium saute pan over medium heat, add butter. Once the butter is foaming (and not browning!), add your trimmed asparagus and salt & pepper. Saute for 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally. Once the asparagus has turned a bright green, add a squirt of fresh lemon juice. Cook for 30 more seconds and transfer to your plate.

To assemble

Bundle the cooked asparagus on the plate and slide your poached egg on top. Salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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