If you live in a northern climate, you know the gleeful feeling that comes with seeing the first seasonal crops appear on market stands. Asparagus are among the first of a long line of vegetables and fruits that are to follow over the summer, which is why every year, starting late May, I dutifully watch for their arrival. The seasonal crisp stalks are so fresh they’re almost sweet, so one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is thinly bias-cut and tossed into a salad. This year I decided to pair them with Middle-Eastern flavors and a quintessential partner, the egg. Served in a toasted slice of bread, it’s an elegant brunch dish, or a simple lunch you should enjoy with a glass of white wine.
Asparagus, Soft-Boiled Egg, and Dukkah Tartine
2 thick slices of country loaf bread
2 tbsp [30 ml] hummus
8 oz [225 g] thick asparagus stalks, tough ends discarded
1 tbsp [15 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp [5 ml] freshly squeezed lemon juice
Finely grated zest of a half-lemon
A pinch of fleur de sel, or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp [30 ml] slivered almonds, lightly toasted
Dukkah (see note)
Prepare the soft-boiled eggs: Set a small bowl with water and ice close to the stove. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Carefully drop the eggs into the boiling water, lower the heat, and simmer for exactly 6 minutes. Fish the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and drop them into a bowl of ice water. Leave them in for at least 5 minutes to stop the cooking process and cool down the eggs. Keep the eggs in their shells in the fridge until ready to serve. You can prepare the eggs a day or two in advance, but they will be best if served room temperature. If you boiled the eggs in advance, take them out of the fridge 15-30 minutes before you plan on serving them.
To shell the eggs, very carefully roll one between the palm of your hand and a cutting board, so the shell cracks in a few places (apply very little pressure to avoid smashing the egg!) Peel the shell off the egg, and then rinse the egg under cold water to remove any leftover bits of shell that could still be sticking. Reserve.
Make the asparagus salad: Very thinly slice the asparagus stalks on a bias. Put into a bowl, and add the extra-virgin olive oil, the lemon juice and zest, some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss well, taste, and adjust seasoning if needed. Add the slivered almonds and mix well.
Assemble the tartines: Toast or grill the slices of bread, then place each slice on an individual serving plate. Spread some hummus onto each slice, then top with the asparagus salad. Cut each soft-boiled egg in half and set two halves on each tartine. Sprinkle liberally with dukkah. Serve immediately.
Note: Dukkah (sometimes spelled dukka, or duqqa) is a Middle-Eastern mixture of nuts and spices that typically contains almonds, hazelnuts, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and sesame seeds. It is traditionally enjoyed as a snack or an appetizer by dipping a piece of bread into olive oil, then into the dukka mixture. It’s also delicious sprinkled on salads, meats, and fish. Dukkah is sold in specialty grocery stores, but it’s also easy to make it at home.
Recipe Credit: Marie Asselin. The recipe was previously published in French by Fou des foodies.Yum