Handsome fresh spears of asparagus are now in markets everywhere, promising effortless meals that sum up spring perfectly. This simple braise of leeks and asparagus is exactly that: an easy-to-assemble bowl of spring flavors. The addition of a poached egg completes the meal, enveloping the vegetables in a creamy yolk.
You’ll want to get out your best grassy olive oil here, as it doesn’t get cooked but instead cloaks the vegetables and brings all of the flavors together. If ramps grow in your area, you might try swapping them in place of the leeks. (You will want to cut their stems thin, as ramps need longer to cook than leeks.) This braise is also the perfect vehicle for other spring vegetables, like peas, pea shoots, watercress and spinach.
Poached Eggs with Asparagus and Leeks
1 leek, halved lengthwise and cut in ½ inch slices
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
1 to 2 tablespoons apple cider or white vinegar
2 organic eggs
Flaky sea salt
Warm a medium skillet over high heat. Add leek, ¼ cup water and a pinch of salt, and bring to a simmer. Stir and simmer for 1 minute. Add asparagus, cover skillet, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until leek has softened and asparagus is tender. Remove cover, raise heat and simmer until water has cooked off. Remove from heat and drizzle in olive oil, season to taste with salt, stir and set aside.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add vinegar and a pinch of salt. Stir water vigorously and add eggs one at a time into the vortex. Lower heat to medium and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until egg whites are set. Lift eggs out with a slotted spoon and drain any excess water off. Divide vegetables between two bowls and top each with an egg, a sprinkle of chives, pepper, flaky salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.
Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. Her cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen will be available fall 2014. She blogs at Coconut & Quinoa.