Irish cuisine is undergoing a renaissance as Ireland’s position of influence on the world stage grows. Irish chefs look to their homeland for inspiration, as can any cook. Dublin born Cathal Armstrong, with the help of David Hagedorn, shares an array of honest foods from his Irish childhood in My Irish Table (Ten Speed Press, 2014). Following recipe for chilled asparagus with Parmesan-black pepper vinaigrette is a perfect summer treat.
Purchase this book from the Capper’s Farmer store: My Irish Table.
My Irish Table Recipes:
Chilled Asparagus Recipe with Parmesan-Black Pepper Vinaigrette
Fresh asparagus is one of the first indicators of spring, a really exciting time for us because the winter season is long in Virginia. We love asparagus prepared this way because the poached egg’s yolk melds beautifully with the vinaigrette and adds an extra touch of richness, and besides, the salad looks so pretty.The asparagus can be blanched the day before and refrigerated. The vinaigrette can be made up to 3 days in advance.
1 pound medium asparagus, peeled and trimmed to even lengths
6 quarts water, for poaching the eggs
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 cups table salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan–Black Pepper Vinaigrette (below)
Chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, to shave for garnish
Chive flowers, for garnish (optional)
Parmesan-Black Pepper Vinaigrette:
Makes 1 3/4 cups
1 large egg
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
To Cook Asparagus:
Blanch the asparagus: Cook the asparagus for 4 to 5 minutes, until they are bright green and very slightly al dente. Shock them in an ice water bath and then blot them dry. Divide them evenly among 4 dinner plates, arranging them in a flat layer with the tips facing in one direction.
Poach the eggs: Line a dinner plate with paper towels. In an 8-quart stockpot over high heat, bring the water, vinegar, and salt to a simmer (165 degrees Fahrenheit). Holding them at the surface, crack the eggs into the water one at a time, placing them equidistant from each other. They will slowly descend to the bottom and the whites will start to cook and envelop them. After 30 seconds, use a rubber spatula to gently release the eggs from the bottom of the pot. They will gradually rise to the surface, getting lighter as they cook. After 2 minutes total cooking time (the white should be set and the yolks runny), use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to the towel-lined plate.
Trim the eggs to be pretty: Using a paring knife, trim away any extraneous wisps of egg white so that your eggs are neatly oval shaped.
Assemble and serve: Center an egg on top of the asparagus on each plate and drizzle the Parmesan–Black Pepper Vinaigrette over them. Using a vegetable peeler, shave ribbons of the cheese over each salad and then garnish them with the chive flowers if you wish.
Parmesan-Black Pepper Vinaigrette:
Combine the egg, garlic, and vinegar in the bowl of a food processor. With the machine running, add the oils in a thin stream through the small tube in the bowl’s lid to create an emulsion. Turn the machine off; add the cheese, pepper, and salt, and then process for another 30 seconds. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from My Irish Table by Cathal Armstrong and David Hagedorn and published by Ten Speed Press, 2014. Purchase this book from our store: My Irish Table.