09 March 2014

Caesar Asparagus Toast with Poached Egg

There are three things I will never turn down:  artisan bread, high quality dark chocolate and a farm fresh egg.  Regardless of time, place or hunger level, I am powerless to turn away from their temptation.  Recently I've sworn off mass manufactured bread, opting to make my own whole wheat loaves at home (which I will share once the recipe is perfected) so artisan bread is currently in ample supply.  And as chance would have it, the hubs and I happened to get our hands on some hours old eggs last week.  Needless to say, I've been eating eggs and toast like it's going out of style.  And with all the gorgeous asparagus at the market, this Caesar Asparagus Toast has been replayed throughout the week like the theme song from Titanic at a 1997 prom.

Though initially envisioned as a breakfast dish, this recipe quickly left the hourly confines of the morning and began masquerading as lunch and sometimes even a light dinner.  For a single piece of toast with a bit of veggie and egg, it is a surprisingly filling and satisfying meal.  Crunchy and hearty whole wheat bread is topped with tender-crisp grilled asparagus, then drizzled with a pungent greek yogurt caesar dressing and topped off with a pillowy poached egg.  It his every texture with tons of rich flavor, plus is healthy to boot.  As they say in Italy, perfetto!

PS - the Italy comment is legit...we're going later this year and I'm cramming as much into my memory as humanly possible, especially the food-related vernacular.

Now you may be wondering about the caesar dressing.  It's definitely not the most common accouterment at the breakfast table as most start their days with syrup, butter, jam or hollandaise instead of a garlicky vinaigrette.  However, the hubs and I have been absolutely obsessed with this amazingly easy, quick and delicious greek yogurt caesar dressing from How Sweet Eats.  We made her brussels sprouts salad last week and became obsessed with drizzling the extra dressing over every green vegetable that was set on our plate throughout the week.  But when we tried it with asparagus, our socks were knocked clean off (slippers and all).  The flavor combo is divine in a way I cannot even begin to describe....just promise you'll try it for yourself.

As the hubs can attest, I have a knack for inserting my flavor obsessions into interesting new recipes.  Enter again the artisan whole wheat bread and farm fresh eggs.  It's a truly fantastic little meal, with whole grains, fibrous vegetables, protein and oodles of flavor.  If asparagus isn't your typical breakfast of choice, you will find this to be a fabulous afternoon snack or early lunch.  It's easy, it's delicious...and it's probably getting made again our kitchen as you read.

Caesar Asparagus Toast with Poached Egg
  • 1 slice multigrain bread
  • 4-5 spears asparagus
  • 1 tbs yogurt caesar dressing
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • parmesan, to garnish

Yogurt Caesar Dressing 
Barely adapted from How Sweet Eats
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbs plain greek yogurt (creamer with higher fat, but fat free works fine as well)
  • 3 tbs parmesan
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbs lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil

To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor except for the oil.  Pulse together several times until the garlic is minced, then add the oil and process until very smooth and foamy.  Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks, shaking well before each use.  

Fill a small pot with 3 inches of water and add a splash of white vinegar.  Set over high heat to bring to a boil.  Toast the bread in a toaster or under a broiler.  

While the water heats, place a nonstick pan on medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, spray with non-stick and add the asparagus.  Cook, turning the asparagus once or twice, until they are tender-crisp, about 6-8 minutes depending on their thickness.  Remove to a cutting board and slice in half, then arrange on top of the toast.  Drizzle with the caesar dressing and garnish with parmesan, if desired.  

When the asparagus are almost ready, poach your egg.  Reduce the boiling water to a gentle simmer and crack the egg into a ramekin.  Holding the ramekin by the lip, slowly submerge into water and gently tip the egg into the water.  Let cook until the edges are set (about 2 minutes) then gently flip with a slotted spoon and cook until egg is prepared to your liking.  Remove with the spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain the excess water, then transfer onto the asparagus.  Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.  

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