Asparagus, in season, is one of the most delicious spring treats. The bright green stems with their beautifully pointed ends, begging to be snacked upon. There are many ways to highlight this beautiful vegetable. As is my typical go-to, I wanted to pair it with a grain. This time, Quinoa. The Asparagus came from our week's farm share and I couldn't wait to eat it. Normally I take the week's supply and do a bit of planning for meals. Not this time. Asparagus, now. The rest—whenever. It was a huge, lovely bunch, with the local dirt still attached from its ride the county over. There's something comforting about buying vegetables with their dirt coats still in-tact. It's a simple reassurance. That this gift I'm about to consume had no other responsibility prior, but to be involved with the earth. Affect the dirt, absorb the sun. Feed me. It's a bit romantic, really.
Quinoa. It's a lovely grain, with a small bit of texture and hearty bite. In this instance I wanted to elevate it a bit. Give it something to mingle with. Rosemary did just that. Rosemary carries a powerful but gracious flavor that adds just the right amount of conversation to whatever it's set against. To add some contrast to the spring green of the Asparagus, I used a red quinoa. And if you've ever read Eating on the Wild Side, you'll know that the general rule of thumb is to go for the colorful options for the most nutrition. If you've not read that book, I highly recommend you do so. You will be forever enlightened by this wonderful almanac of nutritious food.
Hollandaise sauce (AKA Dutch sauce) is a pretty common thing to pair with Asparagus. And while I could have made your standard recipe of egg yolk, lemon, and butter, I opted for something a bit more creative. I do realize that it seems a bit odd to have a vegan sauce paired with a poached egg. But that's kind of the way I do things. I have a super sensitive system and I know what I can and cannot comfortably eat. Butters, creams, or anything heavily dairy based is pretty much out of the question. Eggs, however, are fine. And my own source of 'true' protein. I buy my eggs local, from the farm down the road with hens on pasture. Real, true Virginia pasture. They eat the same bugs that buzz around my side of the county, scratch the same soil, and exist in the same climate, absorbing the same sweet sunshine. It's a pretty good deal, for all of us. And in due time those eggs will come from my backyard and perhaps I can bless someone else the way I've been blessed by chickens down the road.
The eggs in this recipe are poached. I used to think poaching an egg was for trained chefs with extreme egg-handling skills only. No, not really. I've tried and failed many different methods of poaching. Eventually, I figured it out. And truthfully, it's so simple that I'm disappointed by how many complex instructions exist out there. To relieve you of poached-egg-sadness, I've included the very simple and effective method to poaching an egg.
Beautiful Asparagus, humane-eco conscious eggs, red quinoa and rosemary. It's a recipe to be proud of, and super delicious at that. Enjoy!
Asparagus with Vegan Hollandaise, Rosemary Quinoa, and Poached Egg
- 1 cup Quinoa + 2 cups of water
- 1 T Rosemary
- 1 Bunch of Asparagus
- 1 T Olive Oil
- Fresh eggs (2-4 depending on the size of your platings)
- Sea Salt, Black Pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup Coconut milk, organic and full fat
- 2 T Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Bragg's with Mother)
- 1/2 Lemon, squeezed for juice
- 1/2 cup Sliced raw almonds
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 T Olive Oil
- Sea Salt, Black Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°. Toss washed and cut (stems cut in half at center) Asparagus. Toss in organic olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 30 minutes or until soft with a bit of crisping and brown to the stems.
- Add 1 cup dry quinoa (washed and sorted) and 2 cups of water to sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until grain has transformed and water has absorbed. Remove from heat and add Rosemary. Replace lid and let the Rosemary absorb into the quinoa by the heat remaining.
- Combine all sauce ingredients and pulse in a food processor. Pour into a sauce pan and simmer over medium heat. If sauce thickens too greatly, add a bit of water to thin.
- To poach the egg: (I do one at a time, though you can do more depending on your pan size and confidence level (ha!)). In a medium sauce pan, heat water to a bubbling simmer. You need enough water to cover an egg, but not so much that it will spill over. Around half full usually works just fine. While water warms, crack egg into small dish in preparation for submersion. Once the water begins to emit a consistent stream of small bubbles at the bottom of the pan, begin to stir in a clockwise motion. This creates a whirlpool of sorts to encourage the white of the egg to wrap around the yolk. Once you've stirred the water into a current, pour egg out of the small dish into the center of the pan while continuing to stir for another round or two. Turn the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, untouched. Using a slotted spoon, remove the egg from the water and set aside.
- When ready to plate, spoon quinoa onto plate. Top with Asparagus, then egg, and finally sauce. Serve immediately.