07 Jul2008

Spears & Eggs

by Marketman

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For some reason, asparagus and eggs are a pair made in food heaven. And continuing on a brief theme on entertaining for less, without giving up on style and elegance, a starter of blanched asparagus served with a soft boiled egg and/or homemade mayonnaise is another such dish that fits the bill in times of skyrocketing food prices… Besides, it is possibly one of the most sensuous things to eat and it is interesting to see how guests handle the appetizer…

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To start, purchase 1 or 2 bunches of pencil thin asparagus. I get ours at the weekend markets, and two large bunches runs me PHP160 or so, this is good for 8 people as a substantial starter. Also purchase a dozen and half organic eggs, roughly PHP150 (8 of these to be made into soft-boiled eggs, and the rest for mayonnaise or other uses). Total marketing bill, some PHP310 for 8 people.

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Trim the stalk end of the asparagus and blanch in boiling water for just 1-2 minutes then plunge into an ice bath, dry on paper towels and store in the fridge up to a couple of hours ahead of your meal. You can also serve them hot if you prefer. If you can’t be bothered getting too involved in plating, you can serve all of the asparagus on a platter (an asparagus platter, in the photo), and have your various sauces or dips on the side.

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Alternatively, you could plate a serving of asparagus spears with a small dipping bowl of homemade mayonnaise.

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And if you want to get fancy, do individual plates with asparagus, a soft boiled egg (with a pinch of sea salt) and some mayonnaise so guests can choose what to dip their spears into, and for how long… This MUST be eaten with your fingers for maximum enjoyment… And the total cost per serving, not much more than PHP45 for a party of 8. Now try and find an appetizer at a decent restaurant for 2-3x that amount these days!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. shalimar says:

    you have just given me ideas… we are off to the bahamas next month and we are not taking a culinary chef… sha will be the chef on this trip.
    I sometimes wrap asparagus with prosciutto , always a hit…

    Jul 7, 2008 | 2:45 am

     
  2. shalimar says:

    wait… as for the photography and lay out this is something new… or I have too much sun ;-)

    Jul 7, 2008 | 2:46 am

     
  3. kurzhaar says:

    Try this variation–brush the asparagus spears lightly with olive oil and grill, sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and serve with aioli.

    I love asparagus, but it can be problematic with wine, which I love more… Would be interested in what people drink with asparagus.

    Jul 7, 2008 | 3:28 am

     
  4. eej says:

    Asparagus spears and eggs…interesting combination. Love the green and white contrast in photo #2.

    Jul 7, 2008 | 6:33 am

     
  5. proteinshake says:

    Speaking of eggs and and various incarnations….Marketman, my hubby (none Filipino) is going to Manila for business , do you (or anyone else here for that matter) recommend a good place for Eggs Benedict or a good breakfast/brunch place, preferably in the Makati area?

    Jul 7, 2008 | 7:09 am

     
  6. Marketman says:

    proteinshake, have your husband try Apartment 1B, an odd name, but a decent brunch place. See Lori’s post on it here.

    Jul 7, 2008 | 7:44 am

     
  7. Mila says:

    I used to remember days when finding asparagus was a hit or miss proposition, now the abundance of the vegetable is year round thanks to those farms in Mindanao. And they do make for a lovely addition to crudites.
    To proteinshake, your hubby can go to Bizu in Greenbelt 2 for eggs benedict! On the other side of the mall, I think Flapjacks also sells eggs benedict. And Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf branches also have their version of the breakfast dish.

    Jul 7, 2008 | 7:44 am

     
  8. proteinshake says:

    Thanks MM and Mila for the info re Eggs Benny ! I’ll ask him to try sample both places if he gets a hankering for EB.

    Jul 7, 2008 | 8:31 am

     
  9. thelma says:

    grilled asparagus is also delicious. brush with olive oil and squeeze with lemon juice and a little sprinkle of salt… yummy!

    Jul 7, 2008 | 12:36 pm

     
  10. leticia says:

    asparagi alla fiorentina!

    it is one of my favorite dish in early spring here in milan, italy.

    Jul 7, 2008 | 1:19 pm

     
  11. Marketman says:

    leticia, geez, I didn’t even know this had a name… asparagi alla fiorentina, I love it. thelma and kurzhaar, see grilled asparagus, here.

    Jul 7, 2008 | 1:33 pm

     
  12. sonny sj says:

    i aslo love asparagus. whether as appetizer or as main meal – sauteed with chicken, pork, beef, shrimp. or as side dish, sauteed briefly in olive oil with lots of garlic.
    served as appetizer, my favorite dip is wasabi-mayo.

    Jul 7, 2008 | 4:04 pm

     
  13. Homebuddy says:

    Very nice Asparagus Platter, where can one buy it?

    Jul 7, 2008 | 6:55 pm

     
  14. wil-b cariaga says:

    simple and elegant. . . and will surely impress your guests. . .

    Jul 7, 2008 | 8:10 pm

     
  15. abi says:

    asparagus here in gensan is cheap, at around Php25-Php35 per big bundle (maybe weighing almost a kilo) and as long as drinking straws. thanks MM for the great idea!!!

    Jul 7, 2008 | 10:02 pm

     
  16. thelma says:

    i just had a glimpse of your aug. 31, 2006 archive, as you have suggested. that sounds like a good meal even if you’re not on a diet! i will try that myself and for my family. thank you…

    Jul 8, 2008 | 2:14 am

     
  17. zena says:

    I love the set of 4 pictures atop! Beautiful. I love grilled asparagus and eggs so this combination ought to be great. wonderful presentation too.

    Jul 8, 2008 | 8:51 am

     
  18. Edwin D. says:

    Filipinos up near Stockton used to pick asparagus for a living in the 1920’s. It was hard work then as each stalk is picked individually by hand and one must be careful not to break it as it is weighed pound by pound. Francisco Ramos Perez did this for a living and God bless his soul as he passed away last January 20,2008. He will always be remembered in our hearts. He is remembered as being a great journalist here in CA but his stories of the early filipino migrants will be missed. God bless his soul.

    Jul 8, 2008 | 12:35 pm

     
  19. alicia says:

    I should have thought of asparagus as something to enjoy soft runny eggs with! Had some people over for brunch and while not running in theme with “entertaining for less” , let me share it with you.. am sure asparagus spears would go well (and I think grilled, sprinkled with sea salt as kurzhaar suggest might work well with this). In a buttered ramekin, place one tablespoon of foie gras pate(not the real thing as it does not work as well), crack an organic egg on top, sprinkle to taste with truffle salt and pepper, add on tablespoon of cream, add chopped tarragon and parsley. Cover ramekin. “Poach” in previously heated water at a meduim simmer, and cook for six minutes! (not more as eggs will set even when you remove them). Serve immediately with toast points or better yet SOME ASPARAGUS !!! Enjoy!

    Jul 8, 2008 | 2:06 pm

     
  20. Marketman says:

    alicia, OMG, that sounds good. The perfect appetizer for the lechon round 3, then a slow death afterwards… :)

    Jul 8, 2008 | 2:17 pm

     
  21. Katrina says:

    MM, I agree with Shalimar — your photography and styling for this post are just stellar! I am now badly craving asparagus with soft-boiled egg, despite the fact that I’ve never (!!!) eaten that combination.

    And Alicia, OOOOOOOHHHHH, that sounds absolutely to-die-for (literally?)!!! I think I’d prefer it with toast points than asparagus, the better to scoop up the goods with. :-P

    Jul 8, 2008 | 11:32 pm

     
  22. mike says:

    yummy appetizer… Madison Grill have an appetizer like this..

    Feb 16, 2009 | 7:40 pm

     
 

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