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Quail eggs with asparagus and parmesan

Make this lovely, warm salad in late spring with the new season's asparagus. The lightly steamed, bright green spears are topped with poached quail eggs, then finished with parmesan shavings and a crisp salad. Accompany with slices of baguette for an easy lunch.

Quail eggs with asparagus and parmesan

Ingredients

  • 2¾ cups (125 g) lamb's lettuce (mâche)
  • 2 heads witlof (Belgian endive), about 170 g in total
  • ¼ cup (15 g) snipped fresh chives
  • 750 g asparagus
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 12 quail eggs
  • 50 g parmesan, cut into fine shavings
  • Mustard vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Break up any large bunches of lamb's lettuce, then put into a mixing bowl.
  2. Thinly slice the witlof on the diagonal, discarding the last 1 cm of the base.
  3. Add to the lamb's lettuce together with the chives and toss together.
  4. Set aside.
  5. Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a screw–top jar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Shake together to mix.
  7. Steam the asparagus for about 4 minutes, or until barely tender.
  8. Alternatively, cook the asparagus in a wide pan of simmering water for 3–4 minutes.
  9. To test, pierce the thickest part of the stalk with a thin, sharp knife.
  10. If cooked in simmering water, carefully lift out the asparagus spears with a slotted spoon and drain thoroughly on paper towel.
  11. While the asparagus is cooking, half fill a frying pan with water and bring to the boil.
  12. Add the vinegar, then reduce the heat so the water is just simmering.
  13. Carefully crack 4 of the quail eggs, one at a time, and slip into the water.
  14. Cook for 1 minute, or until the yolks have just set.
  15. Remove the poached eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  16. Keep warm while poaching the rest of the quail eggs.
  17. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss together.
  18. Spread out on a large serving platter.
  19. Arrange the asparagus on the salad and place the poached eggs on top.
  20. Scatter over the parmesan shavings and grind a little pepper over the top.
  21. Serve immediately.

Serves 4
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: about 5 minutes

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