Breakfast or Dinner?

I think that there are two groups of people when it comes to the debate about which meals should include eggs. Those who vehemently believe they should only be eaten for breakfast, and those who believe they should be enjoyed at all times of the day. I definitely belong to the latter (far more sensible) group.

I have been known to have scrambled eggs, baked beans and tater tots for dinner, which is essentially breakfast at night. But there are other ways to combine eggs into dinner that aren’t a rehashed version of your first meal of the day.

Enter asparagus. There is something about asparagus and runny egg yolks that’s quite sensual. A dish that fits into this category quite spectacularly is using asparagus spears as a replacement for toast with dip dip (boiled) eggs. No, wait, now I am back to breakfast. Let’s try again…

How about asparagus risotto with prosciutto and Parmesan topped with a poached egg? That definitely sounds like dinner, right?

And a delicious dinner it was too. I cooked a meal for my old roomie last Friday night and she is a vegetarian – not something I am that good about catering to. But I felt up for trying something new and decided a dish where she could have a veggie version, and I could throw meat on mine at the last minute was a good compromise.

I very rarely eat rice, and if I do, its usually a risotto. It’s one of the only ways I can cook rice well – its not difficult, its just time consuming. So if you want dinner in a hurry do not attempt this recipe!

Now that spring has officially arrived in San Francisco I thought it was about time that asparagus gets featured in at least every other meal I cook for the foreseeable future. So here goes…

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Asparagus & Prosciutto Risotto with Poached Eggs

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1.5 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lb asparagus trimmed and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • a generous grind of black pepper
  • a few strips of prosciutto
  • 2 eggs, poached

METHOD

  • Cut the asparagus into pieces two inches long, keeping the tips separate from the stalks. Bring the chicken stock to simmer and cook the stalks until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add tips and repeat process.
  • Heat the oil and two tablespoons butter in a large saucepan and gently soften the onion for about 5 minutes. Then add the rice. Stir with a wooden spoon to coat the grains. Let the rice cook three to four minutes, stirring so that it absorbs the butter and turns opaque.
  • Add the wine, stir. Pour in the hot stock a ladle at a time, and cook the rice, stirring. Keep stirring and adding stock for about 20 minutes. The rice will absorb the liquid. Make sure the stock is being absorbed and that there is not much liquid on top. The bottom of the pan should be clean.
  • Start testing the rice. It is done when it is al dente. You may not need to use all the stock or you may need to add a little hot water. Be careful not to overcook the rice.
  • Just before the risotto is ready, stir in the asparagus to heat through. Stir in the remaining butter but do not return to the heat. Add the cheese, spoon the rice onto individual heated plates and sprinkle with extra cheese and ground pepper.
  • I threw a poached egg on to both dishes, and also topped mine with some torn slices of prosciutto.

And that, my friends, is how you make eggs for dinner.

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