comments 34

Asparagus with Fried Egg and Parmesan


It’s asparagus season! Which means it’s time for my favorite fast lunch: sweet local asparagus topped with a fried egg and sprinkled with Parmesan. To anyone who thinks that making yourself lunch takes too much time, I challenge them to find something quicker than this meal.

But, Daisy, don’t you have to steam asparagus? Or boil it? That takes time!

Oh no no, young Padawan. You can . . . microwave it!

This idea comes from Andrew Carmellini‘s Urban Italian. In the book, he recommends microwaving asparagus as a quick and terrific way to perfectly cook it without sullying up another pot. I just have to quote him on this:

“Asparagus in the microwave is awesome. Yup. You read that right. I’m sure some food snob somewhere is recoiling in horror and throwing this book across the room, but I don’t care.”

I don’t care either. I love Carmellini’s food. He’s got a Michelin star and two James Beard Awards. If microwaving asparagus is good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.

This is one of those no recipe-recipes that can be multiplied by as much as you need. I give you the recipe for one but obviously, if you are cooking for more people, you will need to punch an extra minute or two into the microwave.

Ingredients:

6-7 asparagus spears, rinsed clean and trimmed of their woody ends

Olive oil

1 egg

Butter

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese

How to prepare:

1. Spread out the asparagus in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Season the asparagus with salt and sprinkle on a little bit of water. Drizzle it with some olive oil. Cover the plate tightly with plastic wrap and nuke it for 1 minute and 30 seconds.

2. In the meanwhile, fry up an egg in butter.

3. Carefully remove the plastic wrap from the plate and arrange the asparagus spears on a clean plate. Top the asparagus with the fried egg. Season everything with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle on as much grated Parmesan as you like.

Serve with a good, crusty bread.

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34 Comments

  1. Wow, what an excellent idea! Hope there’s still some asparagus at the markets tomorrow so I can try microwaving it. (I am sitting here at the computer because I was going to pay bills. Instead I keep looking at WordPress. Must. Stop. Now.)

    • It’s so great. Ever since I read that, I haven’t blanched a single stalk!

      And WordPress is ridiculously addictive. I have noticed that they keep screwing with the navigation bar. Sometimes the changes are okay. But they have been kind of annoying lately. Is it just me?

      • I try not to complain too much about free things (god forbid I don’t want to sound like those folks who wail about every facebook change, for example). But, yeah, some of these changes are a tad annoying.

      • I agree. It feels strange criticizing things you get to use for free, but then I think of how much data they collect from us and sell to others . . .

  2. Since we may be getting laying chickens soon I’ve been thinking about inventive ways to use eggs. Voila! Enter asparagus with egg (and cheese!) What a great all around dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Eggs are so inexpensive and nutritious. They should be the “main star” of the show more often.

    • I love eggs! They are so versatile! I was doing this experimentation thing the other day. Just throwing some basic tomato sauce on top of pasta, when I thought to myself, why don’t I try to carbonara this stuff up? So I scrambled an egg and tossed it in with the sauce and pasta. You would have sworn it was heavy cream!

      • Ohhhh that sounds yummy! Lately we’ve been having omelets for dinner. I’ll gather together the meat and veggie leftovers from the week to add to the omelet. To make the meal special I’ll bake some cinnamon buns. Presto! An instant, tasty, inexpensive, filling meal. 🙂

      • Omelettes for dinner are wonderful So versatile too.

        Cinnamon buns! You should totally blog about those! I love cinnamon buns.

        (and I do have to ‘fess up: whenever I find myself in a rest stop that has a Cinnabon, I succumb!)

  3. As you know, I love a fried egg on top of pretty much anything. (Well, not bacon.) My microwave died in a shower of sparks last week, though, and I’m not sure if I am going to replace it. I will probably opt for just tossing my asparagus into one side the pan while I fry my egg on the other. The egg should probably be at a lower heat than the asparagus, strictly speaking, but that’s not the kind of triviality that I’m willing to dirty two pans for. Ok, maybe the asparagus first and then I’ll lower the heat for the egg. 🙂

    • A shower of sparks! Oh, dear. That must have been scary. I hope that nothing else got damaged and everyone is okay.

      I have a love/hate relationship with my microwave. My grandpa gave it to me. He nukes everything and I guess he thought that I would starve without one. I really only use it to heat up water, melt butter and cook asparagus. If it were to go, I’m not sure if I would replace it either . . .

      I think that if you go with one pan, do the asparagus separately. I am thinking that it might release water while it cooks, so you wouldn’t want that close to your eggs. Wipe the pan out and then fry the egg? I agree: no need to dirty up two pans!

      • I mostly use it to reheat my cup of coffee that I lost track of. 🙂 I had a moment of panic the other day when I had to melt butter for my fritters, but then I remembered how to do it the old fashioned way and it took about 60 seconds in my pan (which I then used to fry the fritters). Phew!

      • Isn’t that funny when you realize how dependent you are on certain things? It seems to only happen when those things are gone.

        I’m glad that you used the same pan to melt butter and fry the fritters. Dirty dishes seem to accumulate so quickly that I relish using one item for two things!

  4. I’ll have to try the microwave method some time. I like the Urban Italian book a lot – the rigatoni pugliese recipe is really good too.

    • Ooooh! That is a good recipe! I like that he came up with all the recipes in his tiny Lower East Side kitchen. It makes me feel better about the size of mine!

    • Thanks, Rosemary! Yes, I was surprised the microwave trick works too. He does say in the book that it really doesn’t work with other vegetables, but asparagus works like a charm!

  5. So easy!! I’ve never microwaved asparagus before, but not because I’m ideologically against it. 🙂 Will definitely have to try this. (And you know I love anything that’s topped with a fried egg!)

    • Glad to hear you have no ideological issues with the microwave! Carmellini is right: microwaved asparagus rules! And I love fried eggs on top of everything too 🙂

    • Then you absolutely must do it! You’re going to be an absolute whiz with the microwave by the end of the renovation 🙂

  6. I am so excited about this idea! I had been roasting my asparagus, which is really tasty, but I am both lazy and not put off by microwaves, so this has me ready to hit up the asparagus patch for a few more spears.

    • You should totally do it! I like my asparagus a little on the tender-crisp side, but do feel free to experiment with a few seconds here or there depending on your taste and the thickness of your asparagus stalks!

      And you are so lucky to have an asparagus patch all to yourself. Am very envious!

  7. Microwaving asparagus! Amazing! This is also one of my favourite lunches/breakfasts/snacks. But I’ll have to see about microwaving the asparagus (that is, when I once again live somewhere with a microwave).

    • Definitely try it the next time you have access to asparagus and a microwave! It’s such a strange appliance. I use it so infrequently, but I wonder if I would miss it if I didn’t have it . . .

      I didn’t have a microwave in France and I was okay, but there is something about North America that makes me feel like I need it!

  8. Great idea! I’ve never microwaved asparagus before but now, this is worth making. We normally have the white Dutch asparagus which we love to eat with potatoes, boiled eggs and lots of melted butter. 😉

    • Oooh! White asparagus! I have never had it and always wanted to try it. Does it taste really different from regular asparagus? I wonder if you can microwave it too . . .

      • We’re having it for dinner tonight. I boiled it in water with salt for 45 minutes. Will be serving it with boiled potatoes, mashed boiled eggs, melted butter and a bit of ham on the side.

    • 4-5 minutes? or 45 minutes?

      I definitely want to try it! It sounds delicious. The way you described the meal, it must be great comfort food!

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