Sunday, November 14, 2010

Veronica : Adventures in Poaching

Menu: Grilled asparagus with poached eggs, prosciutto, and torn garlic croutons

I thought that the Grilled Asparagus would be an nice weeknight recipe. Convenient, too, as I happened to have a handsome bunch of asparagus in my refrigerator. I tried really hard this time to get my mise-en-place, but I just couldn't. I have only enough counter space in my kitchen to accommodate my smallish cutting board and one, maybe two, receptacles for recently chopped items. I have no place to put tiny bowls, etc. Apologies to the team.

ANYWAY, skinny asparagus is one of my favorite veges and Mr. Keller mentions a helpful kitchen tip that I've lived by for awhile: slowly bend an asparagus stalk and where it snaps is where you should trim. All stalks will be tender and not at all woody that way. Brills! Next I oiled the little stalks and seasoned with coarse black pepper and kosher salt.

I left them to hang out on the parchment for a bit while I saw to the torn croutons. It all started very promising. I had a nice roll that I tore into
bite sized chunks. I slowly sauteed several garlic cloves to impart their tastiness into some oil. But then. Then I tossed the bread in the oil, ADDED BUTTER, and watched the bread soak it up. Every. Single. Drop. As the croutons slowly browned and eventually crisped, my horror morphed into exhilaration. They looked (and smelled) really good.

The last couple of steps in the process were pretty simple. The asparagus just needed to be grilled for a couple of minutes on each side, which was the perfect amount of time for me to also poach the eggs. When I dropped my first egg into the pot, I was immediately reminded of how I hate poaching eggs. I'm not good at it: They always end up so ugly, the whites all shredded up and ghostly.

all together now

your brain in a measuring cup

With all the parts now prepared, I was able to compose my plate. A little prosciutto here. A couple of piles of asparagus there. Strategically-placed eggs. Croutons everywhere! I ground up a little bit of extra black pepper on top because it always looks nice and I love black pepper. I was supposed to drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top of everything, but the dish did not need the oil and I don't really love balsamic. Also, I forgot. It did feel pretty fatty overall, so maybe some acid would have helped. If I make it again, I'll try not to forget the vinegar.

zero points for plating

All in all, there were a lot of components, but each of them reasonably simple to put together. Tasty, but very (too?) rich. I expect I'll make it again, but probably in a smaller portion as a starter (at a dinner party) or something. It was a little too decadent to have as an entree.

Unrelated Item:
Stars, they're just like Bearded Ladies
While in line at the deli counter to get prosciutto, I was behind SNL alum Rachel Dratch and her new baby. She ordered pancetta. Italian cured meats for all!

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