"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Monday, February 20, 2012

Make it Up to You

Things have been quiet on this here blog for the past several days.  A little too quiet, if you ask me.  You see, in addition to the surreality that is an upcoming move (not quite yet, but very soon), our internet has been down for a few days.  So no time-wasting on facebook and pinterest...which is probably a good thing.  No Pandora...bad thing.  No knitting...because I needed a new pattern to tackle...and couldn't access Ravelry...very bad thing.  And no blogging...bad, bad, bad.

But I'm back to make it up to you.  With an ever-so-simple-it's-barely-even-a-recipe sort of meal.  My favorite sort.  This isn't anything particularly original.  I'm willing to bet that many of you have seen this one, or made it yourselves.  It is just that good, that I am driven to share it with you fine people.

Asparagus with bacon, egg, and Meyer lemon.  This is the kind of thing you can easily throw together in a very short time, perfect for a busy weeknight.  It's healthy, fresh, and eminently satisfying.  Soul-food, if you will.  We ate this twice in a row last week, with some minor alterations, tweaking the cooking method a bit, to find the best, tastiest way to eat it.  I'm going to give you some pretty loose directions, so that you can decide which way best suits you.

So, a word, first, on the asparagus preparation.  The first night, I simply tossed the asparagus in olive oil, flaky sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.  And it was gorgeous.  I adore roasted asparagus, with its gently crispy outside bits, and tender inside bits.  Glorious.  This technique works well with asparagus that's on the younger, thinner side, in my opinion, so that the interior gets thoroughly softened.

Or...the second night, I followed Nigel Slater's lead, in a suggestion from my bible, oops, I mean his cookbook, Tender.  This time, I blanched the asparagus spears for about 4 minutes (they were larger ones), then drained them, laid them in a baking dish, and sprinkled crispy bacon and salty parmesan over it.  This method bakes for about 10 or so minutes, until the parmesan melts. This version is deliciously salty from the bacon and parmesan, but I have to say, I prefer the texture of the roasted asparagus spears, to these, which are still snappy and fresh, but not quite as exciting for me.

Whichever method you choose, you'll leave the table feeling satiated, and well taken care of.  Especially with the addition of a nice, yolky, runny egg and a squeeze of Meyer lemon...oh baby.  The lemon juice combines with the yolk, transforming into a delectable, no fuss sauce, brightening the whole dish with a subtle citrusy note.  Do not leave out the citrus in this one, people.  You absolutely could swap the Meyer lemon, if you can't find one, for a regular lemon, or for a nice, tart orange even.

Without further (and further...and further) ado, a sort-of, kind-of recipe for:

Asparagus with Bacon, Egg, and Meyer Lemon - serves two

1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed
4 slices cooked, crisp bacon, broken into bits (save the bacon fat to drizzle in the second version, seriously)
1 or 2 eggs per serving (I like one, the Mister likes two)
grated parmesan, optional
one wedge Meyer lemon, per serving

Prepare the asparagus:  See above.  Either toss it in olive oil and coarse sea salt and pepper, and roast in a 450 deg F oven, for about 10 - 15 minutes, until slightly browned (only just), and tender when pierced with a knife, then top with the cooked bacon...OR...blanch the spears for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender when pierced, then lay in a baking dish, sprinkle parmesan and bacon over the top, drizzle with a bit of the rendered bacon fat, (or olive oil, or butter) and bake in a 400 deg F oven, for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Serve your asparagus with a very lightly fried egg, or a poached one, whatever you're in the mood for.  I opt for fried generally, as it's way easier for me than poaching.  Squeeze the Meyer lemon over everything, and serve immediately.

Yup, that's the stuff.  Comfort food at its finest.  And simplest.

I do hope I made it up to you.

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