March is one of my favorite months. My sons and father were born then. And it also signals the end of the brown, cold winter. Spring is finally just around the corner, bringing a vibrancy that inspires and excites. It becomes easier to eat beautiful food, and it becomes easier to get outside and enjoy watching the world change from brown to green.
One of my favorite brunch dishes has always been eggs Benedict. I remember my dad talking about it like it was the most delicious thing in the world. The process is simple, and the outcome is nothing short of divine.
I love the way the fresh asparagus, which usually comes in around March 15 in Arkansas, looks under the egg and sauce, not to mention the beautiful nutty flavor from toasting it in a hot skillet. I add a sprinkling of bacon for no other reason than bacon is delicious, but it also allows me to use less salt in the overall recipe.
One small suggestion is this meal comes together quickly, so please read through the recipe first, and assemble everything before starting. Nothing is worse than over poaching an egg and having to start over again.
ASPARAGUS EGGS BENEDICT
Serves one, but can multiplied as needed
• 2 slices of bacon
• 5-7 stalks fresh asparagus, tough ends cut off
• 1 whole egg, at room temperature
• 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
• 1 tablespoon hot vegetable stock or water
• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
• sea salt and fresh black pepper
1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and place the bacon in the center.
2. Cook the bacon until crisp, then remove to a paper towel to drain while the rest of the meal is cooking.
3. Reserve the bacon grease.
4. When the bacon is cooled, chop it finely.
5. Bring a 2-quart saucepan filled 2/3 of the way with water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to a simmer.
6. Crack the whole egg into a small ramekin.
7. Add the asparagus to the bacon grease and allow the vegetables to caramelize while cooking the egg and sauce.
8. In the pot of simmering water, create a whirlpool in the water with a wooden spoon. You want the water to be moving rapidly in a circular motion.
9. Gently empty the whole egg into the center of the whirlpool, allowing the white to fall back on the yolk.
10. Let the egg cook for about 2-4 minutes until desired doneness is achieved. It’s best when the white is just firm and the yolk is runny.
11. Remove with a slotted spoon and set the egg, spoon and all, on top of a paper towel to drain while mixing the sauce.
12. Keep the water in the pot simmering and mix together the whole egg, vegetable stock and lemon juice in a small heat-safe bowl that fits just on top of the pot, creating a double boiler.
13. Whisk constantly over the heat until the mixture thickens and becomes creamy.
14. Remove from the heat and whisk in salt, pepper and tarragon.
15. To assemble, place the asparagus on a plate.
16. Top with the poached egg.
17. Top the poached egg with the hollandaise sauce.
18. Sprinkle liberally with crispy chopped bacon.
Arkansas Women Blogger member Heather Disarro is a food-centric lifestyle blogger who is passionate about embracing the beauty that surrounds us in our everyday lives. She is a Texan living the expat life in central Arkansas with her husband, son and two massive dogs. Heather writes her blog, Heather’s Dish, from an office filled with dust, dog fur, toys and plenty of love, grace and music. She revels in the opportunity to bring the love of cooking to the world as a way to love others well!