Ah, the Santa Monica Farmer's Market. Every Sunday, the lot behind the Victorian on Main Street turns into an insane mix of yuppie yoga convention, precocious toddler fashion show and Millenial hangover clinic. Mindful meditation solicitors? Check. Vegan locally-sourced baby clothes? Check. Greasy omelets and fries? Check.
And yes, there's fresh produce too. It's already well-stocked year-round, but in spring and summer it just borders on ridiculous. The haute hippie moms gently hip-check each other for the week's bounty of squash blossoms, heirloom lettuce, and free-range organic eggs worthy of their own Portlandia episode.
I showed up (woefully underdressed) with the vague mission of cooking brunch for a friend and the condition that the meal be compatible with some leftover gremolata in my fridge. Lucky for me, I scored that last box of coveted eggs, plus some pencil-thin asparagus and crusty pumpkin seed sourdough bread.
In the spirit of the Santa Monica's Farmers Market, we gotta go classy. So let's make some poached eggs over pan-roasted asparagus with lemon garlic-spiked bread crumbs. The yoga moms would totally approve.
Poached Eggs over Pan-Roasted Asparagus
Yield: Serves 2
Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 15 min Total Time: 30 min
1 Tbs butter
0.5 cup / 115 g breadcrumbs (see note)
1 tsp lemon zest and a few squeezes of lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp minced parsley
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 tsp olive oil
glug of white vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
A note on breadcrumbs: Next time you have some leftover bread, give it a whirl in the food processor, then store in a plastic bag in the freezer. The slightly uneven texture makes dishes like this one worlds better than commercial breadcrumbs.
Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Saute breadcrumbs til golden, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, lemon zest or juice and parsley, then saute another minute til garlic is fragrant. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Wipe out skillet and heat olive oil. Add asparagus and season with salt. Cook without turning for 2 minutes, til one side looks a bit charred. Give a stir and continue to cook until just tender and charred. Give it a squeeze of lemon.
Heat water in saucepan with a glug of white vinegar til just boiling. Crack your egg into a bowl, swirl the water then drop the egg into the vortex. Cook 2.5 minutes for a soft poach. Adjust the heat so the water remains at just a bowl, to keep the egg from settling to the bottom but not boiling so hard that the egg white foams up. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon, and repeat with the other egg.
To serve, pile half the asparagus on a plate, sprinkle over breadcrumbs and top with a poached egg plus salt and pepper. Serve with a side of fresh bread or some potatoes.