Barbecued asparagus with chopped eggs, tarragon, chives and dill
- April 2019
- Serves 2 as a starter
- Hands-on time 15 min, simmering time 6-7 min
Chargrilling or barbecuing asparagus gives it an amazing depth of flavour, accentuating its sweetness by caramelising the natural sugars within the stem. Served with herbs, an egg and a mustardy dressing, it makes a wonderful starter.
You could also try this dish on toast for breakfast or brunch, or scale it up to feed a crowd.
- 34.4g (6.4g saturated)
- 8.9g (8.3g sugars)
- 4 free-range organic eggs
- Small handful fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
- Small handful fresh dill, chopped, plus extra to serve
- Small bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
- 12 fresh asparagus spears
- Finely grated zest ½ lemon
- Olive oil to drizzle
- Edible flowers, such as violas, calendulas or garlic (available from Sainsbury’s or ocado.com)
For the dressing
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- Put all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl or jug and season with salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously to combine, then set aside.
- Put a pan of water on the heat and bring to the boil. Add the eggs and cook for 6-7 minutes. Drain and, when the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel and coarsely chop. Put in a bowl with the tarragon, dill, chives, half the dressing and some salt and pepper. Gently combine and set aside (see Make Ahead).
- You can cook the asparagus in a griddle pan if you like, but it’s never quite the same as cooking it over a smoky fire, plus it’s fantastic to get outside and light up the barbecue. Get the fire going and, once the flames die back and the embers are glowing, you’ll be ready to cook.
- Snap the woody ends from the asparagus. Put the spears on a tray or in a large bowl. Grate over the lemon zest, trickle over some olive oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Cook the asparagus for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally and encouraging some charring. When they’re cooked, lift them off the grill and return to the kitchen.
- Spoon the herby dressed eggs onto a serving platter or divide between two plates. Top with the grilled asparagus, trickle over the remaining dressing and add a scattering of dill and some edible flowers, if you can find them.
Make the dressing and herby eggs up to a few hours ahead of serving. Keep in separate containers in the fridge until just before serving.
When you’re buying asparagus, look out for firm, snappy spears with tight tips and a bright emerald colour. It may be pricey, but that’s because it’s special. It takes several years for the crowns – the part of the plant the spears grow from – to produce their first stems, and then they’ll only yield a limited amount. You should be able to find really great locally grown stuff on the shelves of good farm shops, greengrocers and roadside stalls right through until the end of June.
Partner this with a dry, lemony white with a bit of grassy bite to it. A sauvignon blanc from Bordeaux is ideal.
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