Potato and Asparagus Salad with Crème Fraîche and Poached Eggs
Source: Phyllis Grant, The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage
This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on March 23, 2013.
12 Yukon Gold or German Butterball potatoes
2 shallots, diced
1 clove garlic, bashed, microplaned, or finely diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
10 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces, or 40 asparagus tips (save stalks for stock or soup)
2 teaspoons of any kind of white vinegar
¾ cup crème fraîche
3 spring onion stems (or chives), thinly sliced
1. Fill a large pot ¾ of the way up with cold water. Add several tablespoons of salt. Peel the potatoes and slide them into the water right away. Turn the burner to high heat and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. The potatoes are done when a paring knife slides in easily. If you’re not sure, just cut one open and taste. Drain the potatoes in a colander. If they’re falling apart a bit, remove them from the water one at a time with a slotted spoon. Set aside to cool.
2. In a bowl, combine the shallots and garlic. Cover with lemon juice and the champagne vinegar. Let sit for a few minutes. Whisk in the mustard. Slowly whisk in half of the olive oil. Taste. The salad is best with a very tangy dressing, but add more olive oil if it’s too strong.
3. Bring the chicken stock to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Add the asparagus and cook very briefly (1 to 2 minutes, depending on size). Taste the asparagus. Make sure there’s still some crunch left. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a kitchen towel. Save the broth for soup or lunch.
4. Fill a big, wide pot with water for poaching the eggs and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn the flame so low that there are no bubbles on the surface of the water. Add the white vinegar and a pinch of salt. Stir. Crack 1 egg into a bowl. Slide it into the water. Repeat with the remaining eggs. I like the yolks very runny, but I hate it when the white is still raw on top. The only way I know to test for doneness is to use a slotted spoon to pull an egg out of the water and touch the top to make sure it’s completely cooked. Slide the egg onto a clean dish towel or paper towel. Remove all the eggs the same way. It’s okay for them to sit for a few minutes. If you want, you can reheat the eggs in the hot water right before serving.
5. Slice the potatoes and spread them in a single layer on a big plate or platter. Salt each slice. Spoon on the shallot dressing. Scatter the asparagus all over the potatoes. Carefully (or not) blop crème fraîche all over the potatoes and asparagus. Add more salad dressing. Place the eggs on top. Add a few sloshes of olive oil. Sprinkle spring onion slices all over. Serve and eat right away.