***Well, my obsession with the new Ad Hoc at Home cookbook continues with Thomas Keller's recipe for Grilled Asparagus. This dish is so delightfully fresh and just....different! The flavors of all the elements marry together so beautifully....fresh asparagus, poached eggs, croutons, and best of all...prosciutto...Yummy.
This was my first venture into poaching eggs. After watching Julie Powell's character struggle with poaching eggs in the movie Julie & Julia, I was a little nervous. Chef Keller includes thorough directions for this process, which helped tremendously. His trick of swirling the water in the pan twice worked really well. I will mention that I do not like eggs that are too runny, so I cooked mine for a bit longer than he suggests.
Brad especially liked this dish. I imagine it will taste even better in the spring, when asparagus is in season...and when we can actually grill the asparagus. I baked the asparagus in the oven, after drizzling with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. It worked just fine!
I highly recommend this dish from Ad Hoc...It truly is delicious!
Grilled Asparagus with Prosciutto, Fried Bread, Poached Egg, and Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Source: 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 (I cooked mine longer, because I'm not a fan of runny eggs). 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.)
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for cooking over medium heat, or heat a grill pan over medium high heat when you are ready to cook the asparagus. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
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 parchment-lined pan, generously coat with canola oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Arrange the asparagus on the grill, or cook in batches in the grill pan. Cook for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side, flipping with a palette knife or narrow spatula, until tender. Arrange the asparagus on a platter.
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 on the platter. Drizzle the salad with olive oil and balsamic, and sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper.
Source: Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller; Page 274
1 loaf country bread
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.
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.
NOTE: If you don't have any garlic oil on hand, pour 1/8 inch of canola oil into a saute pan, add 5 crushed, peeled garlic cloves, and heat over low heat until the garlic cloves are golden brown, flipping the cloves from time to time. Remove the garlic cloves and use the oil for the croutons.