Asparagus and eggs is so simple that it can hardly be called a recipe. But, it is a great way to turn this seasonal vegetable into a delicious light meal. And a few simple tips will make the process much easier;)
You do really need to enjoy a runny yolk for this recipe to be at its best. The idea is that the oozy golden yolk becomes a quick sauce for the asparagus.
Healthy and nutritious
In addition to being simple, this recipe is also incredibly healthy. There's only two ingredients, and they are both really good for you.
- Like many vegetables, asparagus is a good source of fibre. It's also rich in folate and a number of other vitamins and minerals. Asparagus also contains a range of antioxidants.
- Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse. They are high in protein and healthy fats. Eggs are also one of the best sources of choline, a nutrient which supports brain function and memory. (Read more about the health benefits of eggs.)
Tips for making asparagus and eggs
I like to use two pans and cook the asparagus and eggs at the same time. Start the asparagus a minute or two earlier so that you are not having to do everything at once.
How to boil asparagus
First, give the asparagus a rinse and ensure that there's no dirt or grit stuck to the stems. Then, snap the woody ends off the spears. If you hold the end of each spear between the thumb and forefinger of each hand and bend it gently, it should snap in the right place. You don't want to eat the woody part, but you also don't want to waste too much of the spear either.
Ideally, try to use a pan which is small enough that the tips are can be propped slightly out of the water. That way the tips will steam whilst the stems are boiling. However, you will need to cover the pan, so don't have them sticking out too far. (It is possible to buy a special asparagus pan which holds the spears upright, but it's such a short season, it's not really worth it.)
Bring the water to the boil (I always use boiled water from the kettle to speed things up). Add the asparagus spears and cover the pan. Simmer gently for 3 - 5 minutes. Check the fattest part of the stem with a knife to see whether it is cooked - the point of the knife should go into the stem easily. Smaller spears will take less time to cook.
Drain the asparagus, and arrange on two plates.
How to poach eggs
I find that it's best to poach no more than 2 eggs in one pan, so if you need more eggs, it's best to use an extra pan.
Bring a small pan of water to a gentle boil. Whisk the water vigorously in one direction so that you create a small vortex (or dip) in the middle of the pan.
Then quickly crack the eggs into the vortex. The spinning water will help keep the eggs in shape.
Keep the water at a gentle simmer, and cook the eggs for 3 minutes. After this time, a medium egg will have a set white and a runny yolk. If your eggs are very large or small, adjust the time slightly.
Remove the eggs from the pan one at a time with a slotted spoon. Rest the spoon briefly on a clean cloth to remove any excess water.
Serve the eggs on top of the asparagus and season well. Enjoy:)
You could also top your asparagus and eggs with this healthy hollandaise sauce. It's really quick and easy to make, and much lower in fat than a conventional hollandaise. Make the sauce first, it'll happily stay warm in the pan whilst you cook the asparagus and eggs.
As an alternative, you could also use this recipe to make purple sprouting broccoli and eggs. Purple sprouting broccoli is in season just before asparagus, and is a little sweeter than green broccoli. Cook it in the same way as asparagus - just trim the stems and boil for 4-5 minutes until tender. Drain well and serve with a poached egg on top.
Occasionally asparagus can have a bit of grit or sand on it, so it's best to give it a quick wash before preparing it.
The tip of the asparagus stalk is the end that has scales on it. If the asparagus was left growing on the ground, these would eventually open out into feathery tops. The tips are the most tender and delicious part of asparagus. The spear usually refers to the combination of some of the stalk with the tip. Supermarkets often sell asparagus tips - these are simply spears that have been trimmed a little. You can use either spears or tips - prepare the spears as shown above.
If you are not going to eat asparagus on the day that you buy it, it's best to stand it upright in a jug with a couple of centimetres of water. Place the jug in the bottom of the fridge. Alternatively wrap the spears in a damp tea towel and store in the fridge to keep them crisp.
Other recipes you might like
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Asparagus and Eggs
- 2 pans
- 1 whisk
- 160 g asparagus about 6-7 spears per person
- 2 eggs
- Rinse the asparagus and snap off the woody end of the stems.
- Place the asparagus in a pan of boiling water, with the tips propped up on the side. Cover with a lid. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until the stems are tender to the point of a knife. Drain and arrange on 2 plates.
- Meanwhile, bring another small pan of water to the boil. Whisk the water vigorously in one direction which will create a vortex or dip in the middle of the water. Quickly crack the eggs into the centre of the vortex.
- Simmer the eggs very gently for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, and carefully remove the eggs one at a time from the water with a draining spoon. Rest the spoon on a clean tea towel to remove any excess water.
- Serve the eggs on top of the asparagus. Season well.
Calories per serving: 79
Please note nutritional information is for guidance only