Some consider eggs to be the perfect food. From their protein content, to their versatility, eggs provide endless inspiration to both chefs and home cooks.
Nobody eggs on egg aficionados quite like Michael Ruhlman, whose new book Egg is a bit of a love letter to the humble protein. This recipe for Crispy Mollet Egg with Asparagus is one of almost 100 egg-related recipes that can be found in his new book.
I often use this asparagus sauce garnished with asparagus tips for sautéed scallops, a great pairing. But it works beautifully with egg as well. I love the crispy egg preparation here, simply breaded and fried. I think a mollet egg is best, but feel free to do a soft-cooked egg. Both the asparagus and eggs can be cooked the day before serving.
1 pound/450 grams asparagus, woody ends trimmed
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
About ½ cup flour
About 1 cup panko
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
¼ cup/60 grams butter, cut into 3 pieces
Grated lemon zest (optional)
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook the asparagus in it till tender, a few minutes (taste one to see if it’s done). Drain and plunge them into an ice bath (half ice, half water) till thoroughly chilled, then drain again.
Cut off the asparagus tips and reserve in a small dish covered with a damp paper towel and plastic wrap. Cut the stems into 1-inch/2.5-centimeter pieces and puree in a blender, adding just enough cold water or ice to get the pieces spinning. Cover and keep refrigerated till you’re ready to finish the dish.
Cook all but one of the eggs to the mollet stage (boil for 5 minutes, use the pressure cooker method) and chill in an ice bath. Carefully peel them (this will be easier if you used the pressure cooker).
Meanwhile, combine the shallot and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.
Whisk the remaining egg in a shallow dish till it’s uniformly mixed. Put the flour in a plastic bag and the panko in a bowl.
Carefully dredge the peeled eggs in the flour, then roll them in the beaten egg until the flour has absorbed it, then roll them in the panko, where they can stay till you’re ready to cook them.
Heat 3 inches/7.5 centimeters oil in a high-sided saucepan over high heat. When the oil is hot, drop in the eggs. Cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, you can pan-fry the eggs, with the oil coming halfway up the eggs, turning them till golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.) Use a slotted spoon to transfer the crispy eggs to a plate.
Put the asparagus sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When it begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium and add the butter pieces one at a time, whisking continuously until the butter is melted. Season the sauce with salt and remove it from the heat.
Reheat the asparagus tips in the microwave for 20 or 30 seconds.
Divide the sauce among four plates. Strain the shallot and sprinkle on top of the sauce on each plate. Scatter the asparagus tips along the periphery of the sauce. Place an egg on each plate, grate some lemon zest over the dish, if desired, and serve.
Recipes reprinted from EGG Copyright 2014 by Michael Ruhlman. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or printed without permission in writing from the publisher. Reprinted by arrangement with Little, Brown and Company