Asparagus with poached egg & parmesan



When asparagus season rolls around, I always intend on enjoying them to the max, but my repertoire is limited and they usually end up roasted in the oven or on the barbecue with fleur de sel, freshground pepper and olive oil. This year, with my CSA-type Lufa basket featuring asparagus from 4 different producers, I’ve been ordering fresh Québec asparagus every week. As a result, I’ve had no choice but to get in the kitchen and figure out new ways.

Since my son is iffy on green veggies but egg-obsessed, I decided to use the latter as a means to an end and turned to this Italian classic: Asparagus with poached egg and parmesan. Nope, I didn’t create this recipe, nor did I google it from the Internet. I just went with the flow, remembering the basic components from the many Italian cookbooks on my shelves and putting all together whichever way happened to work for me.

Spring asparagus is the first local vegetable to grace the produce section at my local supermarket along with fiddleheads, so they hold a special place in my heart. Poached eggs and I, on the other hand, have a bit of a love-hate relationship. An eggs benedict fan, I love to eat them, yet I loathe to make them. If you’re like me, this video of Jamie Oliver I researched after the fact for this post will explain it all—plus he’s actually making the asparagus!



In my personal experience, with poached eggs, you need to accept that the first one or two will be lousy, the middle ones will be perfect, and by the end, you’re so sick and tired of it, you start to rush and lose your touch. Who cares, with this recipe, the blanket of parmesan will hide less-than-photogenic egg.

The verdict? Kiddo devoured all and asked for seconds (of eggs, not asparagus, let’s keep it real here); Monsieur came back from work, asked what’s for supper and nibbled these on the counter as he made, ahem, “real food” for himself. And I just basically took my picture for Instagram, life of a blogger n’est-ce-pas, settled down and relished the moment. Oh, and cleaned off my plate with my fingers, because the mix of olive oil, fleur de sel and egg yolk is to die for. Buon appetito.




  • 1. Break off the fibrous ends of larger asparagus, if needed. To do so, hold asparagus in one hand and bend gradually until the foot breaks off by itself.
  • 2. In a large pot, bring 2.5 cm (1 inch) salted water to a boil and cook asparagus until tender, around 5 minutes depending on size. Transfer to a bowl of water with ice cubes to stop cooking, drain and set aside.
  • 3. In a small pot, bring 7.5-10 cm (3-4 inch) water to boiling point, i.e. very hot but not bubbling.
  • 4. Break an egg into a small bowl. Swirl a big spoon around the pot until the water creates a whirlpool and, bowl close to the surface, gently slide egg into the center. Cook 3 minutes for a liquid egg yolk. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat using remaining eggs.
  • 5. In each serving plate, place a few asparagus and drizzle generously with olive oil, plus a few drops white balsamic vinegar if using. Season with fleur de sel and pepper. Place egg on top and sprinkle with parmesan. Add more pepper if desired. Serve as is or break egg with the end of a knife so egg yolk will flow over the asparagus.
  • 6. N.B. If after poaching eggs, your ingredients are lukewarm, just reheat asparagus by placing them in a colander and running hot tap water over them for example. Transfer eggs to a bowl of hot water for a few seconds and dab dry with paper towel before making plates.