Pan-roasted Asparagus with eggs

I found this recipe on the fabulous NY Times Cooking site earlier this week. Just the image was enough to conjure up what this dish could be, which for me is the best kind of recipe ever. It gives you an idea that you can take and make your own, teasing the flavours and adding or changing ingredients to suit your taste. I can attest to the fact that it is the perfect weekday dinner (or lunch, if you're lucky enough to work in a space with a kitchen), because it's so easy and requires so few ingredients. Since I had a bunch of green asparagus in the fridge and delicious organic eggs from a friend's farm that were begging to be eaten, it was only a matter of time before this landed on the table. It's very simple and the end result is all the more amazing for that fact. Whilst things are cooking, which isn't long, make a quick green salad, light some candles and open a bottle of wine. Then carry the pan of steaming goodness to the table and proceed to enjoy a meal that will be a beautiful end to your day.

I adapted the original recipe a bit: I omitted the chorizo and the garlic croutons, choosing instead to serve toasted bread with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side and some leftover hummous. Also, since I'm no fan of parsley, I replaced it with basil and added some grated manchego (parmesan or any firm, slightly salty cheese would also work perfectly). Since I didn't have pimenton, I used my favourite shichimi togarashi, the Japanese spice mix I love. As you can see - endless variations possible! So without further ado, here's the how-to!

1 500 gm bunch green asparagus, with the woody bits snapped off, cut into 3 cm lengths
1 teaspoon ghee or olive oil (I recommend the latter!)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small handful basil leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated manchego cheese (see notes above)
1/2 teaspoon shichimi togarashi / pimenton / smoked paprika
6 organic eggs
A splash of milk
Salt to taste

Heat the olive oil or ghee in a large, non-stick pan on medium heat. Once warm, add the asparagus and stir through. After 3 - 4 minutes, when the asparagus is almost cooked through, add the garlic, a large pinch of salt and the togarashi. Stir well and continue to cook for a minute.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the splash of milk and salt to taste. Pour into the pan and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until soft and creamy. Add the basil and cheese, stir through and cook for half a minute and then turn off the heat. Serve immediately with some toasted bread and a green salad.

Serves two as a meal or four as a side.

Prep time: 5 minutes   Cooking time: 10 minutes

Images: Vatsala Murthy

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