Freshly poached eggs, crispy hazelnuts and a squeeze of lemon are the perfect accompaniment to simply roasted, jade green asparagus spears. Serve this dish with whole wheat toast for brunch or a few pieces of crostini for a light supper.
For the Asparagus:
20 thin or 12 fat asparagus spears, tough ends removed
Extra virgin olive oil for brushing
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the asparagus spears on a small baking pan. Brush the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for about 4-5 minutes, or until just crisp tender. They will continue to cook a bit after you remove them from the oven.
To finish the dish:
3 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups water
1 tablespoon vinegar
4 fresh large eggs
Pinch of snipped chives for garnish
In a small sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat until it sizzles. Add the hazelnuts and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until the hazelnuts are deep golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze as much of the lemon into the pan as you desire.
If you don't have an egg cooker, in a small saucepan bring the water to a bare simmer and add the vinegar. Break the eggs, one by one into a small bowl and then gently slide them into the simmering water. Cook for 4-6 minutes, depending on your preference for doneness. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the water and allow to drain for a moment or two.
Arrange 5 small or 3 fat asparagus spears on each of 4 plates. Season each egg with slat pepper and chives and place on egg on top of each bundle of asparagus. Scatter the hazelnuts over the top and serve immediately (with buttered toast or crostini if desired).