Charred white and green asparagus with pickled egg yolk and pesto

4
1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Pickled egg yolks

  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 1l water
  • 100g of sea salt
  • 225g of caster sugar
  • 300g of white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp pickling spice
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 black peppercorns

Asparagus

  • 400g of white asparagus spears, woody end removed
  • 400g of asparagus spears, woody end removed
  • 1 banana shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tsp extra virgin rapeseed oil
  • sea salt
  • lemon juice, to taste

Pesto

  • 25g of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 25g of basil, chopped
  • 6g of fresh lovage, chopped
  • 25g of hazelnuts
  • 1/4 banana shallot
  • 1/2 garlic bulb
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 45g of Parmesan, grated
  • extra virgin rapeseed oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly ground white pepper

Method

1
Begin by making the brine for the egg yolks. Combine the water, salt, 25g of the caster sugar, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns in a pan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Regularly stir the mixture to ensure the sugar doesn’t catch on the bottom. Cover and set aside to cool
  • 1l water
  • 100g of sea salt
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 black peppercorns
  • 225g of caster sugar
2
Make the pickling liquor at the same time. Place the white wine vinegar, remaining 200g of caster sugar and pickling spice in a separate pan and heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring regularly. Cover and allow to cool, then pass through a fine sieve into a container. Set aside
  • 300g of white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp pickling spice
3
Preheat an oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and cook for 6 minutes, then set aside to cool. Wrap the garlic bulb and shallot in foil and cook for 30 minutes, then set aside to cool
  • 25g of hazelnuts
  • 1/4 banana shallot
  • 1/2 garlic bulb
4
While the nuts and garlic are roasting, separate the egg yolks and submerge them in the cooled brine. Cover and leave for 30 minutes
  • 4 free-range eggs
5
For the asparagus, bring a large pan of heavily salted water (it should smell like the sea) to the boil. Blanch 300g of the white asparagus and 300g of the green asparagus for 1 minute, then transfer to a bowl of iced water. After 10 minutes, drain and place on kitchen paper to dry
  • 400g of white asparagus spears, woody end removed
  • 400g of asparagus spears, woody end removed
6
Place the cooled nuts in a blender and blitz until coarse. Cut the root end off the garlic bulb and shallot and, using the back of a knife, squeeze out the soft caramelised insides from their skins. Add this to the blender along with the chopped herbs, lemon juice, Parmesan and a healthy pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 25g of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 25g of basil, chopped
  • 6g of fresh lovage, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 45g of Parmesan, grated
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
7
Start blitzing the pesto ingredients whilst slowly drizzling in the rapeseed oil, until you achieve a loose dressing-like consistency. Taste and add lemon juice, salt and pepper to balance the flavours, if required
  • extra virgin rapeseed oil
  • freshly ground white pepper
8
Once the egg yolks have been in the brine for 30 minutes, use a slotted spoon to carefully lift them out and place them in the pickling liquor. For a runny yolk, pickle them for 30 minutes, or leave for longer for a harder texture
9
Finely slice the remaining white and green asparagus and place in a mixing bowl with the diced shallot. Season with a large pinch of salt
  • 1 banana shallot, finely diced
  • sea salt
10
Place a large griddle or frying pan over a very high heat (or light a barbecue). Drizzle rapeseed oil over the blanched asparagus spears and place in the pan, cooking until lightly charred. Flip and continue cooking until charred all over
11
Meanwhile, dress the sliced asparagus mix with rapeseed oil and lemon juice and carefully lift the egg yolks out of the pickling liquor, placing on kitchen paper to dry
  • 1 tsp extra virgin rapeseed oil
  • lemon juice, to taste
12
Divide the asparagus spears between 4 plates and top with an egg yolk. Spoon over the sliced asparagus then drizzle over the pesto. Season with pepper and serve