I'd never eaten, yet alone cooked with purple asparagus before, so I was very excited when I saw this at the store. I know it's not terribly uncommon, but for some reason I've just never thought about getting it before. The first difference I noticed between this and its green counterpart was that it was huge! I don't know if this is typical of this variety or if it was just this particular crop, but the stalks were definitely bigger than any green asparagus I've ever encountered. Now, I've never peeled asparagus before and never really understood the need to do it but after making this salad I now understand. I guess it must be because of the thickness, but around the base of the stalk the skin got stringy and hard to cut. We kind of had to pick it up and tear it apart with our teeth, which I'm sure is a beautiful and appetizing mental picture for everybody out there. It still tasted good, things just got a little messy, so in the future I'll be sure to peel the skin around the base of the stalks. I did really enjoy the flavor though, it seemed to be a bit milder than green asparagus. I've read it has more sugar in it, so maybe that's why.
We've been into poached eggs lately, (because they're one of the most delicious things ever, so how could we not?) and decided to top the salad with a poached egg. I really think this was a great decision on our part. This was so good that dinner was one of those silent ones where everyone is too busy eating to take a break long enough to have a conversation. This isn't something I necessarily encourage, but hey, it is kind of a compliment. This recipe sounds complicated because it has a lot of different parts, but really there's not much prep work, and each part is pretty simple to make.
- 1/4 cup Shallots, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tbs Sherry Vinegar
- 12 stalks purple asparagus, ends peeled
- 2 slices bread cubed for making croutons, we used and artisan multi grain bread
- 2 cups chopped, arugula
- 3 slices prosciutto, sliced into bite size pieces
- 2 eggs, poached
- 2 Tbs chopped parsley
- 1 Tbs chopped cilantro
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat and add the shallots. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until shallots become translucent, stir in garlic and saute until garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat into a medium bowl and let cool. Do not clean out pan so you can use it to make the croutons. Whisk in Dijon, when completely combined whisk in sherry vinegar and salt and pepper, set aside.
Coat asparagus with olive oil and salt and pepper,
cutting the bigger pieces in half if necessary. Spread onto baking
sheet and roast until asparagus is just tender, 10-20 minutes (sorry I
wasn't paying that much attention!).
In the same pan you used for the shallot and olive oil, adding a bit more oil if necessary, toss in bread cubes and cook until the edges begin to brown, set aside.
If you have an egg poacher that really comes in handy for this recipe, if not here is a link to a web page with great instructions on how to do it. It's really pretty easy, just a bit intimidating.Easy Poached Eggs
Prepare the plates ahead of time by placing arugula on each, then top with prosciutto. Once the asparagus is ready place it on top of the prosciutto, then set the poached egg on top of the asparagus, next sprinkle on croutons, parsley, cilantro and salt, and pepper. Finish by drizzling with shallot vinaigrette. Serves 2.