Two Things You Can Do With Asparagus (Asparagus with Eggs & Asparagus Panzanella)

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I’m very proud of myself. I improvised not one but TWO recipes this week with asparagus. In both cases, I bought the asparagus at the farmer’s market. The first time I brought it home to use in a Heidi Swanson recipe involving farro, but then my store didn’t have farro. It had pharaoh, but that didn’t help. So I came home defeated and made pasta and then the next day, instead of going to lunch, I looked at that asparagus and said, “I’m going to eat you. I don’t care if I don’t have farro!” So I stemmed the asparagus (you do that by bending it until it snaps, then throw out the lower half) and tossed the good parts with olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet. I heated the oven up to 500 and popped the asparagus in there for, approximately, 7 minutes. But you’ll know when it’s done because the asparagus will get color. Then, once it came out, I fried up two eggs in olive oil. That’s easy too: just heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet, when it’s hot add two eggs, sprinkle salt and pepper on top, and when the eggs get golden around the edges and the yolk is still runny, take it off. I placed it on top of the asparagus and grated parmesan cheese on top. I did the same for Craig and we both agreed it was a terrific, easy-to-do lunch. (When the yolk pops, it coats the asparagus in creamy goodness–who wouldn’t like that?) 3rd grade teachers agree: Adam gets a gold star.

And then, tonight, I made this:

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Asparagus panzanella!

I had a real eureka moment with this. You see, at the farmer’s market I bought asparagus and cherry tomatoes and then I started walking down the stairs to the subway and once I got down there I was like, “What can I make with asparagus and cherry tomatoes?” I was almost through the turnstile when I realized that if I bought bread and basil and cheese, I could make a killer panzanella salad. And that’s exactly what I did! I climbed the stairs back up to the farmer’s market and bought basil, cheese (pecorino) and a loaf of sourdough and when I got home I cut the crust off the bread (just a thin shave, so I didn’t lose too much) and then cut the bread into cubes. I preheated the oven to 350, and tossed the bread with olive oil, salt and pepper and put on a cookie sheet. I toasted in the oven until it got golden brown and then, in a large bowl, I put in one minced clove of garlic, about 4 or 5 Tbs red wine vinegar, and then about 3/4 cup olive oil (though I eyeballed all of this, so use your judgment.) I whisked it all together and then, after cutting up the raw asparagus and cherry tomatoes, tossed it all together with the bread and slivers of pecorino cheese. Paired with the Sauvignon Blanc that was in our fridge and the finale of American Idol (I miss Melinda! She was the best), everyone agreed it was a triumph.

And those are two things you can do with asparagus.

36 comments

  1. Those eggs on top of the asparagus look delicious. Brilliant idea. I think I might add a squeeze of lemon. Panzanella is such a classic, but it’s rare that anyone mixes it up with different ingredients. I’m not so convinced on the raw asparagus that’s been popping up everywhere, though. Was it really good? Wouldn’t it be better cooked at least a little?

  2. Adam, I am so proud of you! You have started trusting your experience and just throwing things together that you have on hand and/or fresh and seasonal and not following a recipe! And you even combined the right wine with asparagus! So many exclamation marks!

  3. Both of these dishes look really good!

    This is a great, simple way to eat asparagus. I don’t even really like asparagus, but I love this pasta:

    PASTA WITH ASPARAGUS-LEMON SAUCE from

    Gourmet, May 2000 Faith Heller Willinger (epicurious.com)

  4. For the first recipe, poached eggs would probably be ever better than fried – they’re lighter, you get more of the nice runny yolk, and the whole thing falls apart easier. I might also suggest a little lemon juice on the asparagus.

  5. bravo! the asparagus panzanella looks especially delicious – i do think i might like it better if the veggies were broiled along with the bread, but that’s just moi. love your addition of fresh pecorino,too. i make panzanella all the time with peppers and zukes and red onions – quite a perfect summertime dish!

  6. I also recently experienced the wonder that is asparagus topped with fried eggs. Serve that on a bed of polenta or pasta and you have a dinner that seems way fancier than it is. I pretty much copped my recipe from A Chicken in Every Granny Cart. Good times, good times. And yeah, I’ve been eating tons of asparagus this year. I feel like the asparagus pushers are really pushing it.

  7. Breaking the asparagus wastes so much. Better to cut off ends, then peel tough skin from lower ends. What’s underneath that is also very good part, Adam.

  8. … now how come you didn’t combine them and put the egg on top of the panzanella? I’ve always been partial to egg (poached mainly) on top of my panzanellas…

  9. By the way, a tip: Both asparagus and fried eggs are said to be difficult to pair with wine. As it happens, I knew my mother had a similar dish to yours in store one night as I walked past a very big wine shop in Barcelona. I decided to put the clerk’s knowledge to test (in a very tight budget, obnoxious little girl that I am!) and lo and behold, they suggested trying a Gewürztraminer, which is a semisweet, floral and spicy grape that’s mainly cultivated in the Rhine area. It worked beautifully! So next time you eat that lovely dish and want to get a bit tipsy, try it…

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  11. I had dinner at Barbuto last night and they served the asparagus with eggs the exact same way…except they had only one egg on it. keep up your good blog, you kick ass.

  12. made and ate both of these things this weekend, they were excellent and impressive! thanks for the inspiration and the recipes.

  13. I tried the panzanella salad – just marvelous. I plan to make it for my dinner guests all summer! The only thing I changed was to steam the asparagus but not to the soggy point. There was still a nice crunch. A heavenly combo of flavors. Thanks! I will be reading you from now on.

  14. Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables, and it pairs perfectly with eggs. The next time you get some, try making an asparagus coulis and drizzling it over baked pots of egg and cream with a little chive. You won’t be sorry!

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