Grilled English Asparagus, Soft Boiled Eggs,
Bacon and Shallot Dressing
The start of the English asparagus season is always a true delight on the calendar. Asparagus will be abundant in late April. This dish is perfect for a warm spring evening. We source our asparagus from the fantastic team at
Oui Chef who are doing home deliveries.
Ingredients (serves 4)
20 Large Spears Asparagus
4 Burford Brown Eggs
1 tbsp Chopped Chives
2 Shallots (finely diced)
100g Diced Smoked Pancetta
1 tsp Sherry or Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
10 Roasted Hazelnuts
Note: For many years I have been a supporter of Portwood Asparagus. The asparagus is grown in Norfolk on Portwood Farm by the Allen family. They have been farming for five generations. I prefer to use the extra select grade. These are the larger and most plump spears.
Before you start:
Ensure that the eggs are at room temperature for a good few hours to avoid undercooking.
Bacon and Shallot Dressing
Place a small size saucepan on a low heat, add the pancetta and sweat to render out the fat. When the pancetta has released its own fat turn up the heat, cook until a nice golden colour is achieved. Add the shallots and sweat for a few minutes to impart the bacon flavour. Add the rapeseed oil and cook on a low heat until the shallots are soft and tender. Remove from the heat, add the vinegar, season to taste and allow to rest until serving. Note the pancetta is naturally salty hence not adding seasoning at the beginning.
Place a large size pan of water on the stove and season well with salt. Bring the water to a rapid boil. Remove the woody base from the asparagus by snapping off. Usually this is the first 20mm from the bottom of the spear. Get a large bowl of cold water ready to stop the cooking process, adding a good quantity ice to the bowl is preferable. Place the asparagus in the pan and cook for two minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in the iced water. Once cool remove from the water and drain on paper towel. Reserve until serving but do not refrigerate.
Place a large size pan of water on the stove. Bring the water to a simmer. Get a large bowl of cold water ready to stop the cooking process, adding a good quantity ice to the bowl is preferable. Carefully place the eggs in the pan and cook for six minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in the iced water. Once cool remove from the water and peel. Reserve until serving but not refrigerate.
Place a grill pan on the stove or a heavy based frying pan. Heat the pan until smoking hot. Add a small amount of rapeseed oil to the asparagus and mix until lightly coated. Place the asparagus in the pan for two minutes until a slight charring is achieved. Remove from the pan. Arrange the asparagus on the plate. Add the chives to the bacon dressing and mix well, then spoon over the asparagus. Cut the eggs into quarters and season with a pinch of salt and a good twist of pepper. Place the eggs on top of the asparagus and finish the dish with the toasted hazelnuts. Enjoy!!