Asparagus season is a jewel in the culinary year. Any food that is only here fleetingly seems more precious and is to be made the most of. Lightly steaming freshly picked asparagus, to be eaten with a beautiful poached egg and sourdough toast, is an absolute seasonal joy. Try not to overcook the asparagus, it still needs some ‘bite’ and to keep its fresh verdancy.
Boil a saucepan of water. Mean time snap the bases off the asparagus at the point where they naturally break (keep/freeze them to make stock) then place them in a frying pan with a few millimetres of boiling water from the kettle. Put a lid on the frying pan and cook the asparagus for 2-4 minutes (depending on thickness). While it’s cooking put the bread in to toast and poach the egg. The secret to fabulous poached eggs is simply to get the freshest egg possible – look around for some backyard eggs in your neighbourhood, otherwise check the dates on shop-bought eggs, they need to have been laid less than a week before, preferably no more than a few days* Just crack the egg into a cup and slide it into rolling boiling water, nothing else is needed.
To serve, lay the asparagus over the toast and top with the poached egg and seasoning, and a drizzle of olive oil.
*The best before date on eggs is a maximum of 28 days from the date they were laid
Asparagus is a rich source of folate, necessary for producing red and white blood cells in bone marrow, producing DNA, and transforming carbohydrates into energy. Folate is a key nutrient in the early months of pregnancy and is important throughout life. A deficiency can result in mouth ulcers, sore tongue, fatigue, muscle weakness, depression and pins and needles. Lack of adequate folate in pregnancy can result in neural tube defects in the foetus.
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