Grilled asparagus with poached egg and Saint Agur blue cheese
Asparagus cooked simply and topped with a poached egg is hard to beat. It is truly one of my favourites. Here I have served it with a delicate and creamy Saint Agur blue cheese dressing and a few toasted nuts for added texture.
Recipe © Raymond Blanc / Photograph © Chris Terry
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
- SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: 8 wooden skewers (soaked in cold water for 1 hour before use), Griddle pan (cast iron pans are best)
- FOR THE SAINT AGUR DRESSING:
- 65g Saint Agur blue cheese, room temperature
- 1tbsp Chardonnay vinegar
- 2tbsp sour cream
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1tbsp water
- FOR THE POACHED EGGS:
- 1ltr water
- 10g sea salt
- tsp white wine vinegar
- 4 eggs, medium, organic/free-range (*1)
- FOR THE ASPARAGUS:
- 20 spears green asparagus, woody ends removed
- 1ltr water
- 10g sea salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil (to brush before grilling)
- TO SERVE:
- 30g hazelnuts, toasted and crushed
- FOR THE SAINT AGUR DRESSING: With a whisk, mix the Saint Agur blue cheese and Chardonnay vinegar until smooth, then add the sour cream and cayenne pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and water and mix until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- FOR THE POACHED EGGS: In a medium saucepan, on a high heat, bring the water, salt and vinegar to the boil. Crack each egg into its own individual small bowl. Carefully stir the boiling water with a spoon to create a small whirlpool. Gently tip each egg from its bowl into the centre of the swirling water. Turn the heat down to medium so the water is simmering and cook the eggs for 3-4 minutes (*2). With a slotted spoon, remove the eggs one at a time and drain onto a tray lined with kitchen paper. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- FOR THE ASPARAGUS: In a large pan of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus for 3 minutes, then immediately plunge them into cold water to stop the cooking process. Pat the spears dry with kitchen paper on a draining tray. Lay 5 asparagus spears side by side and secure them together with two skewers (thread them one at each end, avoiding the tips, so that the spears are kept straight). Repeat for the remaining asparagus. Heat a griddle pan on a high heat. Brush the asparagus lightly with the olive oil. When the griddle pan is hot, lay the asparagus flat and griddle for 90 seconds on each side to gain deep griddle marks. Turn the asparagus over using tongs and griddle for another 90 seconds. If necessary, do the griddling in batches; simply keep the asparagus warm while you cook the remaining asparagus.
- TO SERVE: Remove the grilled asparagus from the skewers and arrange five spears on each plate. Place the poached egg on top and spoon over the Saint Agur dressing. Finish by sprinkling the toasted hazelnuts.
- RAYMOND'S NOTES (*): (*1) The most important factor here is the freshness of the egg. The white of a fresh egg will remain close to the yolk when you are poaching it. White wine vinegar will also help to keep the egg together in the water as it helps to coagulate the protein structure of the egg. (*2) The trick for the perfect poached egg is to ‘just’ cook the white leaving the yolk runny. This is achieved with a very gentle heat… definitely not boiling!