This is spring on a plate, and would be a very easy starter for a dinner party, especially at this time of year when everybody seems to be eating a bit lighter with summer holidays in sight.
The egg is the star of the show so using the best eggs available is essential in this dish, so if you can, spend the extra euro on organic eggs.
Asparagus is bang in season right now, so look for tight, young looking asparagus. Chefs are divided on peeling asparagus, I always lightly run a peeler along the stalks and trim the woody ends.
– 5 organic eggs – one is spare, trust me, one always breaks!
– 1 bunch of green asparagus
– 1 bunch watercress
– 80g roasted, de-skinned hazelnuts
– 2 sprigs fresh dill
– knob of butter
– ½ cup flour
– 1 egg
– dash milk
– 2 handfuls breadcrumbs*
1. Heat a pot of heavily salted water. Whilst that’s coming to the boil, pop your eggs into a bowl and pour some hot water over them, this seals the pores, so they wont crack when you put them into the water.
2. Pop the eggs into the boiling water, by slowly lowering with a slotted spoon. Cook for 3.5 minutes exactly, use a timer.
3. Whilst they are cooking, fill the sink with cold water. Once the eggs are cooked, pop them into the cold water to refresh and stop the cooking. Once cooled, carefully peel them. These eggs should now be hard enough to play with, but soft enough to run when you slice into them.
4. Bread crumb the eggs, by dredging them into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, heat a deep fat fryer to 180 degrees.
5. Bring a pan of boiling water to the boil and cook the asparagus for 2 minutes, whilst the asparagus is cooking, drop the eggs into the fryer for 2 minutes. When the asparagus is cooked, drain the water and add the knob of butter, season with some salt.
6. Now you have hot eggs, and warm buttery asparagus, place a few spears of the asparagus onto each plate, and lay the egg on top, garnish with the watercress, hazel nuts and dill, just before serving sprinkle some good quality salt on top of the egg.
Bask in the glory as your guests slice into their eggs, allowing the yolk to seep over the asparagus.
*This recipe works well with dried breadcrumbs, Japanese panko breadcrumbs or fresh breadcrumbs, so feel free to choose which you prefer. I’m sure gluten free would work well too if you’re coeliac.
Gareth Smith recently returned to Ireland to join the Kinara Restaurant Group after 6 years in Vienna, where he transformed the pub dining scene there whilst in Charlie P’s and O’Connor’s Old Oak, working tirelessly to put Irish cuisine on the map in Austria.
Having stints in the Chart House in Dingle, Chapter One, Restaurant 1014 and Ely CHQ and stages in The Ledbury in London, but still describing himself as “not a cheffy chef” shows a very modest side to his cooking.
Originally from Wexford, Gaz has a country boys instinct for forming great relationships with fishermen and butchers and suppliers meaning that in Michael’s he gets the best of Irish produce and serves it Mediterranean style that the restaurant is being applauded for.