Until ohhh six months ago I thought poaching an egg was the most difficult thing in the world. Every time I'd tried, the egg always burst apart and was an inedible mess. Turns out, poaching a delicate egg on a rapid boil isn't a good idea. Too bad it took me twenty years to figure out that a gentle simmer will yield perfectly poached eggs time and time and time again. Seriously, it's now my go-to method for eggs - easier than scrambling, I sah-wear!
At the now officially out of its winter funk farmers market, I picked up asparagus, chives and pasture-fed eggs from Bradley Farm. For Sunday brunch I took advantage of the above plus a hunk of pancetta I'd picked up at Dickson's Farmstand. I'm dying to make Smitten Kitchen's Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash, but poached eggs were calling my name and I just couldn't bring myself to cube a pound of potatoes. Next weekend perhaps.
Back to the eggs. I also had some leftover polenta which baby girl and I go ga-ga for fried up; especially with a poached egg on top. To make a long story short, I diced some pancetta, chopped some chives and asparagus, cracked some eggs, fried some polenta and I had a meal worthy of guests, not just mom and dad and friends who love you guests, but strangers you want to impress with your cooking skills guests. Seriously, it was pretty, delicious and easy enough to make. If you don't have polenta on hand, feel free to use an english muffin or a nice slice of toasted challah or brioche or whatever. The yolks and chives will transport just about any carb into nirvana. Enjoy!
Poached Eggs with Asparagus and Pancetta over Fried Polenta
(Did I mention that poached eggs can be made beforehand and then warmed up in hot water? It's true, just be careful not to overdo it, you'll get hard poached eggs. Plus, spring is prime egg, asparagus and chive season so get cracking!)
What You'll Need:
4 Eggs cracked individually into ramekins
1/8th pound Pancetta diced
1 pound Asparagus chopped into half inch rounds, but keep the lovely tips longer
3-4 tbsp Chives chopped
4 flat 3x2 inch rectangles of Polenta (left over from the night before and chilled)
Salt and Pepper
Fill a pot with water and add a splash of vinegar. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a gentle simmer.
While the water is coming to a boil, place a frying pan over a medium high heat and add the pancetta. Cook for about 5 minutes until the fat is completely rendered. Pour off most of the fat and then add the asparagus.
While the asparagus is cooking, place a clean frying pan over a medium high heat and add a splash of olive oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the polenta. Fry it on both sides until brown and crispy. (This is tricky for me, so if the crispiness gets lost on the pan, carry on, it will still taste incredible.)
While the polenta is frying, gently pour the eggs on at a time into the gently simmering water. Check them after 3-4 minutes. Once the white is firm, but the yolk is runny, they're ready. I use a slotted spoon to gently scoop them up and test them with my finger by pressing down gently on them.
To serve, place a piece of polenta on a plate. Top with a poached egg and then the asparagus and pancetta and some chives. Make sure you mop up all that luscious yolk and enjoy!
Cost per Meal: Expect 4 servings
This Time Last Year: Salmon with Creme Fraiche and Chives / Chicken with Creme Fraiche and Chives