date night: roasted asparagus with poached farm fresh eggs

Last weekend, the most glorious thing happened to me: my husband had Saturday off.
Nich has worked on Saturday mornings at his coffee shop since I’ve known him. Saturday mornings are just not something we get to enjoy together. Instead, I spend Saturday mornings with my sister Danielle (we call this Saturdate) and we have a grand ole time. Lately, we’ve been going to the big PSU farmers market for our saturdates, and it is the highlight of my week. I just love it there.
So, last week, Nich was able to join us on Saturdate. I thought I was a geek at the farmer’s market, but my husband is much more so. He was like a kid in a candy shop (but a grown adult nerding out over truffles and produce and local and organic meat).  I believe we left the farmer’s market that day with: one small bag of wild truffles, 1 lb ground beef from Deck Family Farms, 1 “salad bowl” (my pick – a bowl full of various lettuce plants for my garden), a herbs-de-provence havarti from a local creamery, 1 doz. farm fresh eggs, 1 bunch of asparagus, and 1 small portion of foie gras (cured with vanilla bean and armenoc) from a local charcuterie. Yes, you read that correctly. I know, I know, I am the advocate of all things humane and good and nice and ethical when it comes to meat. And yet I just told you that my husband bought foie gras. It isn’t something we partake in often (I’ve consumed it twice in my whole life), and it isn’t something I plan on buying often (if ever). I won’t get into any arguments right now about the ethics of it, but I will say that for whatever reason: it just doesn’t bother me that much. (For those of you unfamiliar with foie gras, this is how wikipedia defines it.)
That being said, we came home with a boat load of goodies from the farmers market. Rather than spend our Saturday together doing normal things that other normal people might do (which, lets be honest…what do normal people do? I wouldn’t know.), Nich and I decided to make ourselves an amazing dinner. We grabbed a few more delectables at our favorite little Italian Grocery (Pasta Works) and set about making our feast. The feast didn’t actually require much cooking, as it ended up being a very antipasti-style dinner. This is what we ended up with: spanish sardines in olive oil, crostinis, herbs-de-provence havarti cheese, foie gras, apple slices, pickled green beans, and poached farm fresh eggs over roasted asparagus.
It was ridiculously good. It was all simple, quality ingredients purchased from local vendors and every bite was full of flavor and life. The poached farm eggs had such beautiful orange yolks – so much happier and more vibrant than any egg you’ll find in any grocery store. It just further proved to Nich and I that it is really worth it to spend a few extra dollars to buy our meat, eggs, and dairy from local farms. It just tastes (and looks) so much better.
In any case, this was our first time poaching eggs and I was quite nervous. I googled ‘how to poach the perfect egg’ and came across this site, which was actually quite helpful. And thanks to Nich’s steady hand and culinary skills, we poached perfect eggs! (And by we…I really mean HE. He poached the eggs, I can take no credit.)

So, if you are looking for the ‘trick’ to poaching the perfect egg, or if you’re looking for a good date night dish (I wouldn’t call it an entree on its own), here’s my recipe.

Roasted Asparagus with Poached Farm Fresh Eggs

1 small bunch of asparagus (the thinner the asparagus stalks, the better)
2 – 4 farm fresh eggs (1 per person you are serving)
1 tsp cider vinegar
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Trim the asparagus ends, and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil (I used an herbed olive oil that I had in the pantry) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven until done to your liking (this should not take long, asparagus roasts quickly).

2. For the eggs: use a medium sized skillet (note: not a big pot!) that has a lid. Fill the skillet with 3″ of water. Cover and heat the water on high heat. Meanwhile, crack each egg into a separate small bowl or coffee mug. Having each egg in a separate small container will make poaching so much easier.

3. Bring the water to a steady/rolling boil and remove the lid. Add one tablespoon of vinegar (any kind will do) to the water, as this helps the egg white bind and stay together.

4. Lower one of the egg containers (bowl/cup/etc) gently into the water and let the egg flow out of the cup into the water. Put the lid back on the pot. Immediately turn the heat to LOW and and set your timer for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, gently scoop the egg out of the water with a slotted spoon and let any water drain off the egg. Either transfer the egg directly on top of the roasted asparagus – or if the asparagus isn’t ready yet, you can transfer it to a plate. Sprinkle generously with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Note: the one thing about this recipe is the timing. No one wants to each a cold poached egg! So make sure to get your asparagus roasting before you poach your eggs. You can poach all of your eggs at once, but since we were new at this and didn’t want to end up with ugly eggs, we did them one at a time. We have also heard that making a slight whirlpool motion in the water helps to form the egg white nicely and make a perfectly poached egg.

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