From the very good new book “The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook,” by Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman, Maine-based organic gardeners, comes this very bright dish of asparagus sprinkled with egg yolks, sitting on buttered toast with a simple cheese sauce.
|1½||cups heavy cream|
|4||ounces gruyere, cheddar, or other hard cheese, grated|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|2||bunches fresh asparagus, hard ends snapped off|
|8||slices crusty bread, toasted until golden|
1. In a saucepan, combine the eggs with water to cover. Bring just to a simmer, then lower heat, and cook at a bare simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of very cold water and crack the shells with the back of a spoon. Remove a strip of shell and return to the cold water to cool.
2. Peel the eggs. H alve them and remove the yolks intact. Set the whites aside. Using a box grater, grate the yolks over a dish. The yolks will break apart while you are doing this, so hold the grater horizontally and rub the yolks on it (watch your fingers). Tilt the grater to empty the yolks onto the dish, scraping the grater with a small knife to get them all out.
3. Coarsely chop the egg whites.
4. In a saucepan, bring the cream to a slow simmer. Let it bubble for 1 to 2 minutes or until it thickens slightly. Gradually stir in the cheese, salt, and pepper. When the cheese melts, blend in the egg whites. Keep the sauce over very low heat, stirring occasionally.
5. In a deep skillet, bring several inches of water to a boil. Add the asparagus, cover, and cook for 2 to 5 minutes or until they are just tender. Drain the asparagus and pat dry with paper towels.
6. Butter the toast and set 2 pieces on each of 4 plates. Add asparagus, cream sauce, grated egg yolks, and pepper. Sheryl Julian. Adapted from “The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook”