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Recipe: Warm Asparagus Salad with Coddled Egg Dressing

Warm Asparagus Salad with Coddled Egg Dressing | Photo by Maria Zizka

A coddled egg is one that has been cooked very gently. In this recipe, the egg is cooked for a brief minute and a half, then whisked together with Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. The resulting dressing -- glossy and thickened -- coats tender spears of asparagus.

Warm Asparagus Salad with Coddled Egg Dressing
Serves 8

4 - 6 strips (about ½ pound) bacon
1 large egg
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds asparagus
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a pan set over medium heat, cook the bacon, flipping often, until nicely browned. Transfer to a paper towel and let cool, then crumble.

Carefully place the egg in a coffee mug and pour in enough boiling water to cover completely. After precisely 90 seconds, use a spoon to lift the egg out of the mug. Crack it into a small bowl. Whisk in the mustard, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Wipe out the pan used to cook the bacon. Pour in an inch or two of water and bring to a boil. Snap or cut off the tough ends of the asparagus. Drop the asparagus into the boiling water and cook just until tender, about 4 - 6 minutes, depending on their thickness. To test for doneness, lift a single spear of asparagus out of the water and hold it horizontally using your thumb and index finger. Both sides should droop ever so slightly. When the asparagus are done, transfer them to a colander and let drain for a minute or two. Place the warm asparagus on a plate and toss with the dressing. The heat from the asparagus will cook the egg a little bit, so be sure to keep tossing until the dressing coats the spears well, just like if you were making pasta alla carbonara. Scatter the bacon over the asparagus and grind plenty of black pepper on top.

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