Baked eggs and asparagus
A quick post today. I’ve made this dish a few times already, but each day, something has come between me and taking pictures of it. So, last night, I was going to photograph this dish come hell or high water (or dusky, overcast 8pm light — thank you, light reflectors).
Ah, the life of a food blogger.
Asparagus is a beautiful vegetable. So bold in its growing habit, popping straight up out of the ground like vegetal stop sticks, leaving behind waving masses of ferny stalks all summer long. And I have a confession.
It’s not my favorite.
No rhyme nor reason. It’s just not. I like asparagus. I don’t love it.
But, this recipe knocked my appreciation of the vegetable up a few notches. It’s the leeks, though, I suspect (sorry, asparagus, but it’s true — leeks make you a better version of you).
Thanks to the chilly spring, my leeks are still tall and beautifully crisp. I panicked a little last year when I realized I had a double crop to plant (and no immediate space to house a double crop), but the result was fresh leeks all winter long, and now springtime, too. I’m happy to use them up in this dish (and use them up I must, because the next generation’s seedlings will be ready to plant within a month).
And of course, everything is more amazing when topped with a soft-yolked egg.
Baked eggs and asparagus
adapted from Edible Vancouver
Fabulous for any meal, serve over brown rice for dinner or with buttered toast at brunch.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 ounces smoky tempeh, vegetarian bacon, or pancetta
- 3 large leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces (tender parts only)
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 recipe mustard vinaigrette (below)
- 4 eggs
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup Parmagiano Reggiano, finely grated
- for the mustard vinaigrette:
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- If using vegetarian bacon or tempeh, heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until shimmering. If using pancetta, heat the pan over medium. Add the meat or meat substitute and cook through. Add more oil, if necessary, to thinly coat the bottom of the pan with fat.
- Add the leeks, mushrooms, and a big pinch of salt, and cover, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft, and the mushrooms have begun releasing their liquids. Add the asparagus and heat for several minutes more – the asparagus will turn bright green.
- Whisk the vegetable broth and all of the ingredients of the mustard vinaigrette together, and pour about half into the pan. Let reduce for 3 to 5 minutes, until most has cooked into the asparagus-leek mixture.
- Transfer the mixture to a medium casserole dish or baking pan (the dish I used is about 8″ x 12″) and spread evenly. Drizzle a bit more of the vinaigrette over the top. (You probably won’t use it all.)
- Make four indentations in the mixture, and crack an egg into each. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the egg whites are set but the yolk is still slightly soft and runny.
- Remove from the oven, season the eggs with salt and pepper, and sprinkle the cheese over the top.