I think the only (spring) food that Danes like more than their new potatoes are perhaps Asparges (asparagus). After a long, cold, winter the spring is welcomed with everything asparagus; soup, salad, open-faced sandwiches, and as alone as a simple side dish. If there is a way to incorporate itÂ into a meal, the Danes will find a way to do so.
However, it’s only recently I’ve come to really appreciate, love and cook Asparagus. With access to the famous Santa Monica Market, I’ve been meeting local asparagus farmers who are so passionate about this vegetable that they could give any Dane a run for their money. When I bought a couple of stocks a few weeks ago, one of the growers asked me how I was going to cook them. I gave him my tried and true recipe: put on pan, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper and broil.
He looked at me with great disappointment and said that his asparagus were so amazing, so tender and sweet (it’s the season) that they deserved to be the full meal and not a sad side dish. He gave me a simple recipe which I have to confess to having for either lunch or dinner every day since. It’s the perfect light but satisfying meal that I intend to keep having until the season is over. Besides, there’s an old-wives tale in Denmark that says it’s bad luck to eat asparagus after June 23rd (Saint John’s Eve).
Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Parmesan
I love this recipe because it’s so quick (perfect for when you’re hangry) and light (unlike a lot of egg dishes). It’s also gluten free.
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed (I just snap off the bottoms where they naturally break)
- 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter (I omit this and just use a little more olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or half a lemon)
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
- Black Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons coarsely grated Parmesan cheese (optional if you’re dairy-free).
- Break eggs into one small prep bowl or cup. Fill a large, low sided pan with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Take a spoon or spatula and make a circular pattern in the pan so that the water is moving in a big circle. Then slowly drop 4 eggs into the middle of the pan. The swirling action will create wonderful poached eggs. If you don’t like this method, use your preferred methods for poaching. Poach eggs 2-3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a separate pot of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add asparagus spears, cook 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove asparagus with tongs, set aside.
- Dry the medium saucepan. Add olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sautÃ© about 1 minute. Turn off heat; add butter (or a little more olive oil), and swirl pan. Add lemon juice, parsley and salt and pepper. Add asparagus and two tablespoons Parmesan then toss with lemon-butter sauce to coat.
- Divide asparagus among 2 plates. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon, 1 at a time, blotting bottom of spoon on towel to absorb excess moisture. Place 2 eggs on each mound of asparagus. Pour any remaining sauce of each and sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
- Serve immediately.