Seasonal local asparagus is a real treat here in southern Ontario. Because of the robust and unique flavor of this treasured vegetable, it is best to keep things simple and pair it with just a handful of simple but classic flavors such as butter, lemon or salt to let the asparagus shine. The Italians know this quite well, and love to serve asparagus with eggs — hard-boiled, soft-boiled, in egg sauces or in frittatas.
This is a variation of an asparagus mimosa, a classic Italian asparagus dish served with grated cooked egg and olive oil and often very little else except salt and perhaps a little lemon juice. Although ordinarily a hard-boiled egg is grated for this salad, I made some soft-boiled eggs instead to let a little of the yolk ooze out onto the lightly steamed asparagus — instead of grating the egg you may find it easier to finely chop the eggs instead.
With a little chopped fresh parsley and just a hint of sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper seasoning, this is an elegant salad to enjoy on a warm summer day, such as the days we’ve been having here with temperatures soaring to over 30°. I don’t mind the heat really, but I don’t care to be standing over a hot stove in this weather either. Enjoy this elegant dish on your patio or deck along with a whole grain.
1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne or rice vinegar
splash of fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt or to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste
small handful fresh parsley, chopped
Place the eggs in a medium saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pan and set aside to cool. When cool, peel the eggs and grate with a coarse grater or chop finely.
Meanwhile, snap off the woody ends of the asparagus. Steam the spears for 5 minutes, or alternately place in a large pan of boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until just tender. (You may cook the asparagus longer for more tender spears, but this dish works better with firm and just-cooked asparagus.)
Divide the asparagus between 4 or more serving plates. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice, and drizzle over the spears. Sprinkle the plates with salt and pepper and scatter the chopped parsley over top. Garnish with the grated egg and serve.