Olive oil … asparagus … if your mother wasn’t so fancy, we could shop at the gas station like normal people. Homer Simpson

Shopping at a stall in Bologna, Italy
Shopping at a stall in Bologna, Italy

Asparagus does have the air of being fancy. Admittedly, part of that is the price. I also think it’s due to its fleeting nature.  Asparagus makes a grand appearance and within a few weeks the season has ended making it seem like a precious commodity. It seems decadent. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables and is the trumpet call of spring. Gone are the solid, hearty roots and in come the delicate, vividly hued foods. I didn’t grow up eating asparagus. My Belizean father favored it in a can which left it mushy and so strongly flavored as to be inedible. My Southern mother was more a fan of cooked vegetables and asparagus doesn’t take well to the assault of Southern treatment. It was in college, eating out with a friend, that asparagus entered my life. How does one describe the flavor of asparagus? Does green have a taste? I don’t know but I do know I love it. I made this recipe for brunch and it’s the perfect vehicle for asparagus. Take Eggs Benedict out of the realm of restaurant food and make this easy meal at home. 

  • Difficulty: easy
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2 large eggs
2 slices thickly cut bread (I used LaFarm)
8 asparagus spears, trimmed of the woody ends
4 oz. ham (plain ole lunch meat)
2 tsp. vinegar
Hollandaise sauce, I use the Foolproof 2 Minute Hollandaise Recipe from Serious Eats. I add a bit more lemon, 2 tsp mustard and some garlic powder and I’m good to go.

1) Toast the bread. The goal is to dry it out a bit but not toast it hard.
2) Bring enough water to boil in a wide, shallow pan so you can both blanch the asparagus and poach the eggs, about 3 inches of water.
3) Once the water reaches a boil add 1 tsp of salt. Add asparagus and boil 2 minutes, or until tender. Time will depend on the thickness of the stalks. You want them crisp-tender. Remove from the pan when done and set aside. Add additional water if necessary to bring the water level back to about 3 inches.
4) Add 2 tsp. vinegar to the water and reduce to a simmer.
5) Gently crack one egg into a small bowl.
6) With the water simmering, slide the egg into the pan. Repeat step 5-6 with the second egg.
***I allow the first egg to settle for a few seconds before adding the second egg to the pan.***
7)Cover the pan, remove from the heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. This results in a typical over easy egg, add an additional minute for a firmer yolk.

While your egg is cooking, make the Hollandaise sauce.

To serve: Top your bread slice with 2 oz. of the ham, 4 asparagus spears and Hollandaise sauce. Pour a nice, tall mimosa.  Enjoy!

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