I know now and really have always known that the best food is really the simplest and most easily prepared, but sometimes I run across recipes that remind me in a new way how true this really is. The current trend to top pizza, salads, soups, etc. with a poached or fried egg is in my humble opinion nothing short of genius. Simple, healthy and protein packed, there couldn't be an easier way to give a light meal a little more heft.
In reality, I'm sure it's nothing new, but there does seem to be quite a few recipes lately featuring the golden, molten egg atop some seriously gorgeous food. I've taken to adding poached eggs to most of my lunches lately as a way to add a little extra protein and to help stave off the inevitable hangry episode that happens around 4 pm most afternoons.
That lunch to dinnertime stretch is the worst for me, and I find myself many times going a bit nuts in the kitchen, snacking on crackers, candy and really anything else I can get my hands on. It's not a pretty sight. A 40ish year old woman with a Pirate Booty crumb encrusted face and a wild look in her eye is an animal you don't want to tangle with.
I was going to share this recipe with you after Easter with the suggestion that it would help you use up any leftover Easter eggs, or asparagus you might have lying around, but really who doesn't always have eggs on hand, and if you don't have any asparagus in your fridge right now, you might want to go fix that. I've used bulgur, because that's what I had in my cupboard, but couscous or quinoa would be equally good.
The great folks at Ariadne Pure, (a local, Kirkland company that imports olive oils, vinegar and other fantastic products from Greece) recently sent me this bottle of pure grape syrup, or for those of you in the know, grape must. Must is the first press of the grapes, usually skins, seeds and fruit pulp. This first press is very sweet and is thickened to be used on desserts, ice cream and salads. The flavor is grape, but more than that. It's complex and utterly delicious. You must, Must. Sorry. That was bad. It's late and I'm loopy.
For this recipe, I dressed the asparagus lightly with some garlic infused olive oil, white wine vinegar and some grape syrup. The slightly sweet and savory combination was fantastic. If you can't get your hands on grape must, though I'd strongly encourage you to try, you could substitute with some balsamic vinegar glaze or even a light touch of honey. A perfect remedy for heading off the hangry.
Asparagus, Poached Eggs + Bulgur
1/2 C. wheat bulgur ( I used the quick cook variety from Trader Joes)
1 C. water
6-8 stalks asparagus, trimmed
1 T. white vinegar
garlic infused olive oil
2-3 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. pure grape syrup (or grape must)
2 T. white wine vinegar
salt and pepper and cracked red pepper
In a small saucepan, bring 1 C. of water to a boil. Add the bulgur and a dash of salt. Cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed.
Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and set aside.
Fill a small saute pan halfway with water. Bring to a boil and add the asparagus. Simmer on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the asparagus is fork tender. While boiling fill a pie plate with ice water. Once the asparagus is cooked, immediately transfer it to the ice water. Let sit for 1-2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
Empty the sauce pan of the asparagus water and add fresh. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and add 1 T. white vinegar. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and slowly add them to the barely simmering water. Swirl the pan a bit so the eggs avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan. Use a small spoon, to coax the egg whites to remain near the egg yolk. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the white is completely set, but the yolk remains slightly runny.
Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and carefully set the egg(s) onto a plate lined with a paper towel.
Place the bulgur onto the serving plate and lightly dress it and the asparagus with the garlic olive oil, the grape syrup, white wine vinegar and the Parmesan cheese.
Gently place the asparagus over the top, then add the poached eggs. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cracked red pepper. Serve immediately.
**The Pure Grape Syrup used in this recipe was gracious provided by Ariadne Pure. All opinions expressed are my own. You can order their products by heading to their site, and clicking on the affiliate links there to purchase.