Ingredients: Per 4 servings
- 2 lb asparagus
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 oz butter
- 2 oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 4 eggs
Cut the tough, fibrous ends from the asparagus and wash well.
Peel the stem before cooking, always holding onto the end of the stem which is harder than the rest of the asparagus.
Tie the asparagus together with kitchen twine in order to avoid breaking the delicate tips during cooking.
Boil the asparagus in salted water for about 10-15 minutes, according to how big the asparagus are. The pan must be sufficiently big enough to hold the asparagus upright, so that the tips don’t break.
To check that the asparagus are cooked, touch them: they should be “al dente,” soft but not mushy. When they are ready, remove the pan from the heat but keep the asparagus in the boiling water.
Meanwhile, prepare the eggs: Melt the butter in a pan and add the eggs.
To give the eggs a different shape, it’s possible to cook them in a preformed “frame.”
Cook one egg per person. Try not to break the yolk and do not cook the white so long that it becomes rubbery.
While the eggs are cooking, drain the asparagus, cut the twine, and arrange on plate. Cover the asparagus tips with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. When the eggs are cooked, place them on the asparagus tips and serve drizzled with melted butter.
Asparagus is a plant originally from Mesopotamia. People normally eat the shoots of the plant that sprout up from the roots. Brought to the Mediterranean by the Egyptians, asparagus quickly reached the Greeks and the ancient Romans. In fact, Theophrastus mentioned asparagus in his History of Plants, written in the 5th century, whereas the Romans were probably the first people to consume asparagus for pleasure rather than for their therapeutic properties. In a record written by Juvenal, the author describes that mountain asparagus were served during a banquet. In the Middle Ages, these sprouts were used again for their medicinal properties as is documented by the fact that Platina recommends, in his book De honesta voluptade, that people with intestinal problems eat asparagus for breakfast. Asparagus then became known as an incredible aphrodisiac, a claim backed by the famous Medical School of Salerno and which made asparagus famous throughout the Europe. The king of France, Louis XIV, was particularly fond of asparagus and even ate them during the wintertime. While, legend has it that Napoleon III would cancel a romantic dinner if it wasn’t possible to serve asparagus.
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