Edible flowers optional. 

Image: Stefan Milne

Like a million other dishes that taste good, this asparagus recipe is rooted in a Caesar salad. All the ingredients are there—eggs, lemon, parmesan, Dijon, and anchovies—just rearranged. You don’t have to emulsify anything. If you’re quick, you can make it for lunch or a light dinner in 20 minutes. It happens to be mostly free of various things people currently avoid: carbs, meat, gluten. But it’s best with good bread.

Anchovy Asparagus with Poached Eggs
  • ½ pound asparagus, the tough ends snapped off
  • 2–3 anchovy fillets
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • a chunk of parmesan cheese
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, picked
  • ¼ cup almonds, chopped
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper 
  1. Mince the anchovies and garlic. Then scrape them against the cutting board with the edge of a knife until they form a paste. In a small bowl, mix with Dijon and a significant pour of olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon. Stir to combine. (You can also do this step in a blender if you want to make more of this sauce.)
  2. Cut the asparagus into bite-size pieces. Heat a skillet over medium. Add the anchovy-garlic mixture, the thyme leaves, and the asparagus. Stir and cook until the asparagus is tender, but still has texture. You want the anchovy bits to brown a little in the pan and on the asparagus, but if they start to burn before the vegetables are cooked, add a touch of water (not too much—you want it to cook off).
  3. At the same time, in a saucepan, heat enough water to easily cover the eggs. Salt it well. When the water is boiling, crack the eggs and add them gently. Simmer until the white is cooked and the yolk is still runny. (I just remove them with a spoon and touch both parts with my finger, making sure the white is firm, and the yolk still gives.)
  4. When the asparagus is cooked, taste and add salt and lemon if needed—it should have a lively acidity, only a little less than a salad. Finish with black pepper.
  5. Put asparagus and eggs on a plate. Garnish with almonds, finely grated parmesan, black pepper, flake salt, and olive oil. Fresh dill is fun. So are edible flowers (if you happen to have some in your garden and are feeling frilly).
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