ASPARAGUS EGG GRATIN
You can substitute other vegetables for the asparagus, such as tender stewed artichokes,
sautéed wild mushrooms, or creamed potatoes.
To bake the eggs you need six small ceramic gratin dishes that allow you to start the eggs on
the stove and then finish them in the oven.
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3/4 pound asparagus
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
Salt to taste
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
6 thin slices prosciutto
Edible flowers (nasturtiums, pansies, borage, or sage —
whatever is in your garden), roughly chopped, for garnish
2 tablespoons of your favorite chopped herbs, for garnish
|Preheat the oven to 350°F.|
|Trim the ends of the asparagus. Peel the fibrous skin of the
spears with a vegetable peeler. Slice the asparagus on a bias about 1/4 inch thick. Leave some
of the smaller tips whole. In a skillet, sauté the asparagus lightly in 1 tablespoon of the butter.
This should be brief, about 1 minute or less, because the asparagus is sliced thin. Add the cream to
the pan and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, then quickly remove from the heat. The sweet
asparagus will perfume the cream. Season with salt.|
|Butter six small gratin dishes and crack 2 eggs into each one.
Pour 1/4 cup or more of the asparagus-cream mixture over each set of eggs. Make sure to get enough
of the asparagus into each dish. Gently warm the bottom of each gratin dish over a low burner
for about 3 minutes, or until the whites are about half-cooked. Place tiny pieces of the remaining
2 tablespoons of butter on top of the eggs, sprinkle with Parmesan, if using, and finish cooking
in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how cooked you like the eggs.|
|Place the gratins on small plates and drape a slice of
prosciutto over each gratin. Sprinkle with edible flowers and herbs. Serve with warm toast.|
Excerpted from COUNTRY EGG, CITY EGG copyright © 2000 Gayle Pirie & John Clark.
Reprinted with the permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.