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Monday, 23 May 2011

The spears are here

It's asparagus season! Time to get amongst those green spears of goodness!
Here's a super quick recipe that will ensure you spend less time in the kitchen and more time making the most of the extended daylight playing frisbee in the park.
This is a bastardisation of ├žilbir, a Turkish dish of poached eggs and yoghurt. I had this at Providores in Marylebone a few years ago and it is deeeelicious. For this you'll need some kirmizi biber (dried Turkish chilli flakes), but if you don't have any to hand - which is very likely as it involves a special trip to a Turkish grocer - a quarter teaspoon of paprika and a teaspoon of normal chilli flakes instead would also be quite tasty.

What you need
(serves 2)
1 bunch of asparagus
eggs, however many take your fancy
5 big spoons big spoons of thick greek yoghurt (I used Total)
1 garlic clove, crushed into a paste with salt using the side of a knife
50g butter
1 teaspoon chilli flakes

The do
Boil a full kettle. Place the asparagus in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. After a few minutes, check for doneness - this will vary depending on how thick the asparagus is. If it needs more time let it mellow for a little longer. When done, rinse with cold water, drain and divide between two plates.
Mix together the garlic and yoghurt, then pile on top of the asparagus, making a little well for where the egg/s will sit.
Poach the eggs, and when done, drain, then place in the yoghurt wells. In a small frying pan, heat up the butter. When it starts to go a light brown colour, add the chilli flakes, swoosh around for a little longer to let the chilli colour the oil, then spoon over the eggs and yoghurt.
Enjoy with some crusty bread.

Nerd alert: Thanks to this brilliant book that I received for my birthday a few years back (thanks Cam!) I learnt that the chemical that causes the unsettling odour in the urine of some of those who eat asparagus is actually a close relative of that in skunk spray. Pong!

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