You've worked late or celebrated late. You are hungry. You could manage washing asparagus and slicing an onion, but not much more. Sultry, slightly seductive, with the egg becoming a cream for the stalks, this is what to eat when the clock's ticked over to a new day. Serve with ragged chunks of bread to sop it all up.
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds slender (1/3-inch to 1/2-inch thick) asparagus, trimmed of tough stems
Good tasting extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 of a medium to large onion, fine chopped
About 1/2 teaspoon Kosher or coarse salt
About 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
4 large eggs
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 or 5 slices of chewy bread
1. Cut the asparagus into 1-1/2-inch pieces.
2. Put the oven rack in the center of the oven, about 5 inches below the heat source, and preheat the broiler.
3. Film the bottom of a straight-sided 12-inch sauté pan with olive oil. Set the empty pan beneath the broiler to heat for 2 minutes.
4. Pull the oven rack out. Then, taking care not to touch the hot handle, turn the asparagus, onion, salt, and pepper into the pan. With a wooden spatula, turn the asparagus to coat with the oil (adding more oil if necessary), spread them out, and let them cook under the broiler. Give the asparagus 3 minutes, stirring them once. You want them to brown slightly, but not become mushy.
5. Again, being careful not to touch the pan's handle, use the spatula to push the asparagus to the edges of the pan, leaving the center empty. Carefully break the 4 eggs into that space, so they look like a four-leaf clover. Broil 1 more minute. Immediately, and carefully, remove the pan from the oven.
6. Squeeze the lemon juice over everything. Give the pan another sprinkle of salt. You could eat right from the pan or divide the dish onto dinner plates. As you fork the asparagus, dip them in the egg yolk, it is part of the “sauce” of the dish. Sop up juices with the bread.
From The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, Clarkson Potter, 2008.
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