I've been cooking for ten all this week as the full-time staff of Apartment Therapy gathers for a retreat. Some of you are getting ready for your final project of the Kitchen Cure: Hosting a Dinner Party and after reading cmcinnyc's comment about having a picnic instead of a dinner party, I thought I should share this recipe for a really easy side-dish or hors d'oeuvres for a large group.
Here in the east, it's high time for asparagus (we're eating it at least twice a day) and with the local eggs I had on hand, I decided to riff a bit on my favorite dish from our favorite neighborhood café's: Truffled Egg Toast with Asparagus.
You can garnish with either truffle salt or truffle oil. Or skip the fancy-pants truffle business and just drizzle with some really good olive oil and sea salt. Using both truffle oil and truffle salt would be over-kill, so if you have both, use whichever is more fresh.
I garnished the platter with about-to-burst chive blossoms from my garden. Although, the dish is such a pretty picture of spring, I don't think it really needs it.
Truffled Asparagus with Parmesan and Eggs
serves 8-10 as a side-dish or hors d'oeuvres
1 bunch asparagus (about 25 spears)
5 eggs, hard-boiled, sliced in half length-wise
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil or truffle oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt or truffle salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese shards
Snap the ends of the asparagus off and discard. Then carefully slice each spear in half length-wise, then cross-wise.
Prepare an ice bath large enough to accommodate all the asparagus without too much crowding.
In a 10" or larger fry-pan, boil water about 1" deep. When it boils, add a dash of salt. Carefully immerse the asparagus in the water and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove with tongs or a skimmer and set in ice bath. When completely cool (give it a minute but don't leave so long they get water-logged,) carefully set to dry on towels.
To assemble dish, arrange asparagus spears on a platter with hard-boiled egg halves. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and scatter Parmesan pieces across the top.
(Image by Gregory Han of Apartment Therapy Los Angeles)