When I decided that I was finally going to start a cooking blog ( late bloomer) I swore I was never going to start a post with shopping at a farmers market and being inspired by local ingredients. Let me be clear, I love inspiring fresh ingredients and I totally support local but there are 50 000 other blog posts that start exactly that way.
Instead I am going to say that asparagus is one of my favourite foods and that I accidentally encountered it at the local market where I just happen to shop. It literally turned to me and screamed, “make a salad”. Moving on… Asparagus and soft poached eggs are such a classic pairing that I thought would be a great starting point. Add some crisp bacon and a tarragon vinaigrette and it is a tasty meal that is all about spring.
A little about choosing asparagus. I go for the thinnest stalks and always check the bottoms to see how woody they are. If it has been out of water too long the bottom will be tough. I also try to snap one piece and see where it naturally breaks. If it is farther up then an inch I pass, because most likely the asparagus is older and won’t be as delicious as I want.
1 bunch asparagus
8 chicken tenders
6 pieces of sliced bacon
2 cups chopped romaine
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425.
This might be old school but I find the natural break in asparagus instead of cutting the bottoms off. To do this gently hold the asparagus at each end and slowly bend it. The asparagus will naturally snap. Use the top portion and compost the rest.
Toss the asparagus in a splash of olive oil and lay out on a baking sheet in a single layer leaving space for the chicken. In a small bowl coat the chicken tenders in 1 tbsp of dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper. Lay these on the same baking sheet and place both in the oven. Mine were perfect in exactly 10 minutes. I would say 10-15 minutes depending on how thick the asparagus and tenders are. While both are cooking crisp the bacon over medium heat. Once crisp remove from the pan and let rest on a paper towel to absorb excess grease.
In a small sauce pan pour in 3-4 inches of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Gently place in the eggs and continue to boil for 6 minutes. Remove the eggs with a ladle and place them directly into an ice bath. This will give you a soft yolk so be gentle when peeling and cutting the eggs.
3 tbsp Olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon
1/2 tsp stevia or honey
1/2 tsp tarragon
salt and pepper to taste
I use a small jam jar and place all of the ingredients in it then shake the hell out of it.
In your favourite serving dish artfully arrange each of the salad components. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.
After making this salad I realized I forgot the tomatoes I had in the fridge so they are a part of the recipe but don’t show up in the picture.