Grilled asparagus with soft poached egg, balsamic and parmesan

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Fresh asparagus and soft poached egg is a dream combination. Here, Geoffrey Smeddle's grilled asparagus recipe lifts the flavour match to another level by adding tart balsamic vinegar and Parmesan. This is a perfect treat for a lazy Sunday brunch, and Geoffrey's dish from his recipe work with the Sunday Herald, is simple to whip up in the morning. To make this recipe vegetarian, substitute the Parmesan for a vegetarian cheese free of animal rennet.




Grilled asparagus


Bring a large pan of water to the boil, adding enough vinegar so it tastes mildly vinegary, then break each egg carefully into a small coffee cup or ramekin
  • 1 drop of malt vinegar
  • 4 eggs
When the water is at a rapid boil, swirl it with a spoon then quickly lower each cup into the centre of the water, releasing the eggs
Adding the cold eggs should lower the temperature of the water to a level where the surface of the water is just trembling. If necessary, adjust the heat under the pan so the water stays at this level. If bubbles break the surface of the water the eggs will cook too rapidly
Poach the eggs for three minutes so the white is just set and the yolk is soft and runny, then lift them out gently with a slotted spoon and place them in ice-cold water to stop them cooking. Discard the poaching water and replace with a fresh pan of salted water
Trim the woody base from each spear of asparagus. Heat a wide frying pan on a medium to high heat and add some olive oil, then, when hot, add half of the asparagus
Cook it for three or four minutes until light brown all over, then lift the spears out on to a baking sheet
Repeat until all of the asparagus spears are cooked. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper
Set the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4 and make sure the pan of water is gently simmering
Place the tray of asparagus into the oven to warm and place the eggs in the salted water for a minute or two, taking care not to overcook them
Once warm, take the grilled asparagus out of the oven and transfer to serving plates. Place a poached egg in the middle of each dish and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grate some Parmesan over the plates then, shave a few pieces of Parmesan over them
  • 150g of Parmesan, for grating and shaving
Finish each dish with a few salad leaves then sprinkle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and eat at once
  • 1 handful of salad leaves
  • olive oil
  • 1 dash of balsamic vinegar

Geoffrey Smeddle, proprietor and chef of The Peat Inn in Fife, started his career working for Herbert Berger at The Café Royal and for Christopher Galvin in London. He then sealed his reputation as one of Scotland’s top chefs by opening Terence Conran's Etain, in Glasgow.

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