Friday, June 22, 2012

Fried Egg on Breadcrumbs with Asparagus

Morning, noon or night, the latest 99 Cent Chef entree can be served anytime. And it's so quick to crank out. As a few spears of asparagus steam, you give a 1/2 slice of bread a few pulses in the blender, then add it to a pan with a tablespoon of oil, finally topping it with an egg. Fry it up and watch as the breadcrumbs crisp and the egg firms up -- but don't cook the egg all the way through, as the asparagus are for spearing and coating with luscious egg yolk.

My local newspaper, the Los Angeles Time has a great food website called Daily Dish (click here.) It features culinary news, restaurant reviews and, of course, recipes. I got this recipe from Russ Parsons, their food editor. It looked so good on the website, and it seemed really easy to do -- although I had to tweak the recipe just a little bit.

I did the recipe twice, once Russ's way, then my way. Russ called for browning the fresh made breadcrumbs for 2 to 3 minutes. The problem with this is that the breadcrumbs almost burn by the time the egg cooks and firms up -- and burnt toast is what you normally want to scrape off.

So the second time I added the breadcrumbs to the heating oil, gave them a stir to coat, then went right to adding the egg. This seems a better way -- the egg cooks just right and the breadcrumbs brown perfectly on the bottom of the egg. Maybe next time I'll spit the difference and let the breadcrumbs cook for a minute. That's the thing about recipes, you should make them your own.

Ingredients (1 serving)
  • 1 to 2 eggs
  • 1/3 bunch of asparagus - or, as many spears of asparagus as you like.
  • 1/2 slice of bread - chop fine or blender to desired size. Okay to use prepackaged breadcrumbs - about 3 to 4 tablespoons.
  • 1 tablespoon oil - to coat breadcrumbs.
  • 1/4 cup of water - for steaming asparagus
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
Directions for Breadcrumbs
Crumble 1/2 slice of bread and fine chop it, or add to a blender and pulse chop it to fine, or desired size. I normally use white sourdough for flavor, but it's okay to use whole grain, wheat or any favorite.

Directions for Asparagus
Trim off an inch or so of the tough asparagus stems. In a pan or pot add water over a medium heat. Steam asparagus covered or uncovered to desired tenderness, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from water and set aside.

Directions and Final Assembly
Add a tablespoon of oil to your favorite egg frying pan. Over a medium heat add bread crumbs to pan and stir to coat them. You can toast the crumbs for 30 seconds to a minute, or just go right to adding an egg or two.

Open the egg and pour it onto the breadcrumbs. The egg yoke should not break --  if you want a creamy runny yoke for the asparagus. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover the pan and let it cook over a medium/low heat until white of egg gets solid, about 3-5 minutes. Check after 3 minutes to make sure it's not cooking too fast. You want the yoke to still be runny. This may take a few tries to time it just right, but with experience you will be deliciously rewarded.

Assemble steamed asparagus spears on your plate* and scoop on the breadcrumbs with cooked egg.

*You can slice up the asparagus spears into bite sizes after steaming.

Asparagus doesn't come on sale all the time, so a tasty substitution is cooked spinach, broccoli or any favorite steamed veggies.

When I buy a bunch of asparagus I will steam it as soon as possible -- that way it doesn't toughen up by sitting in the refrigerator as I work my way through the bunch. Cooked asparagus will last longer in the refrigerator than uncooked. When ready to use just microwave a few spears until warm, or just heat in a pan for a minute with a tablespoon of water.

You can add as little or as much breadcrumbs as you like. I haven't decided if I like to toast the crumbs a minute before adding the egg -- let me know what works best for you!

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