FOOD: Poached eggs with as­para­gus and morels on toast.

Serves 4

The Saturday Paper - - Contents | The Week - An­nie Smithers

– 20g un­salted but­ter

– 2 tbsp ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

– 200g as­para­gus, trimmed

– 60g small morel mush­rooms (rinsed and halved or quar­tered

if large)

– 60ml chicken or veg­etable stock

– 2 tbsp heavy cream

– 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

– salt and pep­per

– 4 very fresh large eggs

– 4 slices (½-inch thick) rus­tic bread, lightly toasted

– 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf pars­ley

– 2 tsp chopped fresh chervil

Heat a large, heavy-bot­tomed fry­ing pan over medium-high heat. Add the but­ter and oil and heat un­til the but­ter has melted. Add the as­para­gus and cook, rolling it around in the but­ter for about a minute. Add the mush­rooms and toss to com­bine.

Add the stock and bring to the boil. Turn down to a sim­mer and cook for about an­other three min­utes, un­til the as­para­gus is ten­der and bright green.

Add the cream and cook un­til re­duced and slightly thick­ened (about an­other minute).

Stir in the lemon juice. Sea­son with salt and pep­per and re­move from the heat.

Bring a large shal­low saucepan of wa­ter to a sim­mer. Work­ing with one egg at time, break each into a cup and slide the egg into the wa­ter. Cook the eggs un­til the whites are set (two to three min­utes). Us­ing a slot­ted spoon, trans­fer the eggs to a plate lined with pa­per towel to drain.

Di­vide the as­para­gus mix­ture evenly over the toast slices and driz­zle with sauce. Top each with a poached egg. Sea­son with salt and pep­per. Scat­ter the herbs over the top. Serve im­me­di­ately.

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