Peas & Asparagus

Spring dinner of asparagus, peas, violas and poached free range egg

Spring comes late to us in the mountains of the Portes du Soleil, it isn’t unusual for us to get snow as late as the end of May.  Luckily, other parts of France experience spring much earlier allowing us to enjoy the delicious new spring vegetables before we have even sown our veggie seeds and they are much welcome after a long winter.

Lorraine loves pretty much anything green and in particular peas and asparagus so they tend to feature quite heavily in the shopping basket once they are available to buy at the market – they are certainly at their tastiest and brightest early in the season.  Whilst we use the eggs from our pasture grazing hens a lot in our cooking, they are only really the star of the show for breakfast so I wanted to make a dish that showed off how amazing they are.  Wondering what to make for dinner one evening I made this, and it has been an entree on our summer menu this year.

This is a lovely light supper to make, quick to prepare and pretty to boot.  Use the freshest eggs you can find and if you don’t manage to get hold of iberico ham, a good quality, thinly sliced parma ham will also work well.

POACHED EGG CROSTINI WITH FRESH PEAS, IBERICO HAM AND ASPARAGUS

100g frozen petit pois
150ml single cream
Fleur du sel
100g fresh shelled peas
10 asparagus heads
1 tsp of white wine vinegar
2 slices of bloomer bread
2 free range, fresh eggs

Place the frozen peas and the cream in a saucepan, bring to the boil, and simmer gently for 4 minutes.  Pour the contents of the saucepan into a beaker, add a good pinch of fleur du sel and blend thoroughly with a stick blender.  Strain the sauce through a very fine sieve and reserve.

Cook the fresh shelled peas in boiling water for 3 minutes, strain, and transfer to a small frying pan off the heat.

Microwave or steam the asparagus until tender.  Around 3 minutes should suffice depending on the thickness of the stem. Once cooked, add to the peas in the frying pan.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil with a teaspoon of salt and the vinegar.

Whilst waiting for the water to boil, cut the bread into 2 rounds using an 8cm circular cutter, or just cut round a mug if you don’t have one.  Toast the rounds and butter well. Keep the toast in foil until you are ready to plate up.

Poach the eggs for 4 minutes until just cooked through.  Remove using a slotted spoon and pat dry with kitchen towel.

Add the pea sauce to the frying pan and place on the heat to warm the sauce and vegetables through.

Place a round of toast on each dish, arrange the Iberico ham around the toast, top with the poached egg, the peas and asparagus, followed by a generous helping of sauce. Season with a little pepper.

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