It's certainly no secret that Nick and I love foodie projects; from making our own pasta to trying Pad Thai at home to brewing beer, we we will try making anything for which we have the time. Fortunately, we have an ever-growing collection of cookbooks, the Internet, and the Great British Bake Off to provide endless sources of inspiration.
Over the last year, we've been collecting Thomas Keller's cookbooks, which provide innumerable projects: as the only American chef to have been awarded simultaneous three star Michelin ratings for two different restaurants, you can hardly expect that his recipes will be simple. We have made his Ad Hoc fried chicken, which was the best fried chicken I have ever had, and we just tried his apple fritters (dipped in caramel sauce despite Nick's protests) last night.
This recipe, from his book Ad Hoc at Home, is yet another Thomas Keller recipe we have tried. It certainly (and rather surprisingly given its simplicity) is a weekend day project to make this dish; however, it is undoubtedly worth it. The take away skills from this recipes--better ways to poach eggs and how to make the best croutons with stale bread--also made it worthwhile for me to make this.
Serves approximately 4.
1/2 loaf of good bread, torn into pieces that are smaller than 2 inch cubes
5 crushed, peeled garlic cloves
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
6 large eggs
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1 bunch thin asparagus spears, trimmed
- First, make the bread crumbs
- In a large skillet, pour 1/8-inch of canola oil. Add the 5 peeled garlic closed and cook over low heat until the garlic cloves are soft and golden brown, flipping the cloves occasionally.
- Remove garlic cloves and increase heat to medium heat. Spread the bread in a single layer in the pan. Cook bread over medium heat, adjusting the heat as necessary so that the oil is bubbling but not sizzling. Stir often.
- Cook until the croutons are crisp and golden brown on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Note: if you're feeling really lazy, just skip the whole garlic step. I made some croutons recently with just salted butter + old crusty bread, and they were still fantastic.
- Set croutons aside on a plate.
- Second, poach the eggs.
- Bring 6 to 8 inches of water to a boil in a large deep pot. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare an ice bath.
- Add the white wine vinegar to the boiling water, then reduce heat to a simmer.
- To poach, crack an egg first into a small cup or ramekin. Then, stir the water in the pot in a circular fashion. As the water starts melting, pour the egg into the center of the pot. Simmer gently for 1 1/2 minutes or until the white is set and the yolk is runny.
- Remove the egg carefully with a slotted spoon and transfer to an ice bath.
- Cook the remaining eggs one-at-a-time in the same fashion. Leave the eggs in the ice bath while you prepare the asparagus.
- Third, prepare the asparagus
- Heat a grill over medium-high heat. Spread the trimmed asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Drizzle the asparagus with canola oil and season it with salt and pepper.
- Grill asparagus spears for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, flipping once, until they are tender. Remove from the grill.
- Rewarm the poached eggs. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Trim uneven edges from the poached eggs and then lower into the simmering water for about 30 seconds to reheat. Remove eggs to serving dish with a slotted spoon, and then season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange grilled asparagus on the serving dish around the eggs. Add prosciutto to the dish, and then sprinkle generously with croutons.
Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home.