Ben Tish’s Pan Fried Asparagus, Soft-boiled Egg and Romesco

Every year the culinary world waits in anticipation for one of the UKs gastronomic jewels in its crown: asparagus. It is ready early spring, weather dependent, and is harvested and delivered to restaurants and shops as quickly as possible. The stalks toughen quite quickly after picking as the natural sugars turn starchy.

The romesco is one of my favourite sauces; the addition of the nuts naturally thickens and adds texture but you can play about with the varieties to suit your taste. Almonds are a classic but I love to add walnuts too for real earthiness.

Ingredients

1 bunch of English asparagus, any woody stalk-trimmed and stems peeled from about half way down
30g unsalted butter
4 medium free range or organic eggs
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper
1 quantity romesco (see below)

 

Makes about 250ml

30g toasted almonds
30g toasted walnuts
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
200g roasted, skinned red peppers from a jar such as piquillo
¼ tsp hot smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Slice of stale sourdough bread
1 tsp tomato paste
Sherry vinegar to taste about 2 tsp
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

For the romesco simply put everything in a blender, season and blitz until you have a coarse puree. Reserve.

Boil the eggs for 5 minutes, drain off the water and refresh the eggs under cold running water for 2 minutes until cold. Carefully peel the eggs and set aside.

Place a large sauté pan over a medium heat and add a lug of olive oil and the butter.

When the butter begins to foam place in the asparagus and season well. Cook for 3 minutes, turning the asparagus as you go. The butter will start to turn brown and the asparagus will become tender. Turn off the heat and transfer the asparagus to a kitchen towel to drain.

Divide the asparagus between plates, a good dollop of romesco (always best served at room temperature) and then cut the eggs in half lengthwise, season and add to the plates.