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Asparagus with Butter and Soy

Time for something savory.

This recipe comes from a really beautiful book, Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes by Andrea Reusing. Just when I thought I had enough of seasonal cookbooks, Reusing created something fresh. The book manages to keep one foot in the professional kitchen (she is the James Beard Award-winning chef behind Chapel Hill’s Lantern [1]) and one foot in the home kitchen. The resulting recipes are home cooking inspired by professional experience and a real love of ingredients. It is a charming read and one of those cookbooks that I actually sit down and read from front to back. I have about ten recipes bookmarked to try.

First up was this asparagus in soy sauce. It is the perfect recipe for right now and I plan on making this often while asparagus sticks around. It is easy to put together, but the timing is important. Read through the whole recipe so you get a sense of what needs to happen, and then get your table set and ready to go. This will come together quickly.

I’m skipping instructions for poaching eggs because there are so many techniques online and every cook has their own preferred method. In my experience, the easiest way to guarantee a smooth poaching process is to use fresh farm eggs. (For the record, I use the whirlpool method)

Happy asparagus everyone! We’re back to cooking with local fruits and vegetables in the Midwest.

Asparagus with Butter and Soy (adapted from Coo [2]king in the Moment [2] [2]by Andrea Reusing)

Fill a medium pot halfway with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add enough kosher salt so that the water is like seawater.
Heat a saute pan over high heat. When the pan is very hot, drop the asparagus into the boiling water and cook for 25-30 seconds, less if the asparagus is super skinny. Drain the asparagus and shake dry. Add the oil to the hot pan and swirl to coat bottom. Immediately add the asparagus and toss constantly for 30 seconds, until they become slightly blistered in spots. Do not lower the heat! (be careful! when you add the asparagus to the pan it will sizzle and splash a little) Add the soy sauce and shake the pan to coat the asparagus. As soon as it evaporates, remove from heat, add 1 tablespoon water and immediately follow with the butter. Continue to toss the asparagus until the butter is melted, creating a dark golden brown emulsified sauce. If the sauce breaks, add up to a tablespoon of water and continue to toss until it comes back to together.
Divide the asparagus between two plates and top with the poached egg. Sprinkle with a little sea salt.