A recipe rarely makes an appearance twice in our kitchen, but this recipe from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home cookbook uses incredibly simple ingredients with mind blowing results so we made it again. Roasted asparagus pairs perfectly with the richness of poached eggs and saltiness of prosciutto. Toasted garlic croutons add nice texture and soak up the runny yolks. It does not disappoint! Plus, it teaches an approachable way to poach eggs that works marvelously.
Grilled Asparagus with Prosciutto, Fried Bread, Poached Egg, and Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Adapted from: Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller; Page 156-157
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
6 large eggs
2 bunches pencil-thin asparagus
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
2 cups Torn Croutons (recipe below)
Extra virgin olive oil
Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Fleur de sel
To poach the eggs, bring 6 to 8 inches of water to a boil in a large deep saucepan. Prepare an ice bath. Add the vinegar to the boiling water and reduce the heat to a simmer. Crack 1 egg into a small cup or ramekin. Using a wooden spoon, stir the water at the edges of the pan twice in a circular motion to get the water moving, then add the egg to the center of the pan and simmer gently for 1-1/2 minutes, or until the white is set but the yolk is still runny.
With a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the egg to the ice bath. Skim and discard any foam that has risen to the top of the water, and cook the remaining eggs one at a time. (The eggs can be poached several hours ahead and stored in ice water in the refrigerator.)
Heat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Hold an asparagus spear and bend it to break off the less tender bottom end. Trim all of the asparagus to the same length. If using medium or large asparagus, peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler. Spread the asparagus out on the aluminum-lined pan, coat with canola oil, and season with salt and pepper. Put the pan in the oven for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a simmer. With a small pair of scissors, trim any uneven edges from the poached eggs. Lower the eggs into the simmering water for about 30 seconds, just to reheat. Remove the eggs with a skimmer or slotted spoon and blot the bottoms with paper towels. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and arrange around the asparagus.
Arrange the prosciutto and croutons* (recipe below) on the platter. Drizzle the salad with olive oil and balsamic, and sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper.
Adapted from: Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller; Page 274
1 loaf country bread
1 Head of Roasted Garlic
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Cut the crusts off the loaf of bread. Tear the bread into irregular pieces no larger than 2 inches. You need about 3 cups of croutons; reserve any remaining bread for another use.
We happened to have a head of roasted garlic in the refrigerator, so to make the garlic oil for the bread, squeeze the head of roasted garlic into oil and incorporate until melted.
Pour 1/8 inch of the garlic oil into a large saute pan and heat over medium heat until hot. Spread the bread in a single layer in the pan (if your pan is not large enough, these can be cooked in two smaller pans). Add the butter. The oil and butter should be bubbling, but if you hear sizzling, the heat is too high. Adjust the heat as necessary, and stir the croutons often as they cook. Cook until the croutons are crisp and a beatuiful rich golden brown on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Move the croutons to one side of the pan and keep warm until ready to serve. (Do not drain on paper towels; you want the flavors of the oil intermingled with the other ingredients as you eat the croutons in a salad.) Torn croutons should be used the day they are made; you can reheat them in a low oven before serving if necessary.