ASPARAGUS, ARUGULA AND PARMESAN SALAD
Ingredients for 4 servings:
20 plump asparagus spears, trimmed and peeled (if desired)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon distilled or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups fresh arugula
Vinaigrette: 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard; 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar;
1/3 cup olive oil; kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 ounce piece of Parmesan Reggiano
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Asparagus: Heat a quart of water to a boil in an 8" skillet. Add the salt and the asparagus then simmer until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 minutes. While the asparagus is cooking, prepare a bowl of ice water and transfer the cooked spears into this cold bath immediately. After a minute or two, when they have cooled, drain off the water and dry the asparagus in a towel and reserve.
Eggs: Refill the skillet with cool water and return to the simmer. Add the vinegar and carefully add 4 eggs, breaking one at a time into a small bowl and pouring them into the water at the surface . Turn off the heat and cover the pan for 4 minutes. When the eggs are opaque, gently release them from the bottom of the pan, lift them out of the water, rinse them in cool water to remove the vinegar and place them on a paper towel.
Wipe out the skillet once more and heat the olive oil in it. When the oil is almost smoking, add the asparagus and turn down the heat. Roll the spears in the hot oil for a minute or two to warm them.
Vinaigrette and Salad greens: Whisk together the mustard and white wine in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and season to taste. Place the arugula in a salad bowl, add a few spoonfuls of dressing and toss to lightly coat the leaves. Add more and toss again if necessary.
Assembly: Divide the greens among 4 plates. Lay the asparagus on top. Center a poached egg on the asparagus and add slices of shaved Parmesan over all. Grind on black pepper and serve.
Adapted from Paris Cookbook by Patricia Wells