As the ground starts to warm after the winter chill, the garden is abloom with spring flowers and the first signs of life in the veg plot start to twist and turn their way towards the sun. It is still too early for any homegrown asparagus but as I drive around the local area I noticed several of the local producers have started to advertise their early crop and it won’t be long before bundles of vibrant green asparagus stalks are all over the markets.
It is without doubt my first real treat of the season and I am going to pair some tender young stalks with soft poached duck eggs. For something a little different to normal I have scattered over a little dukkah, an Egyptian blend of toasted nuts and spices, which marries perfectly the soft creaminess of the egg and the sweet, almost citric flavour of the asparagus. A bed of creamy tahini yogurt and a slug of fruity olive oil makes this combination truly delicious.
Asparagus with duck eggs, tahini and dukhah
4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon tahini paste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 duck eggs
1 bundle young asparagus, trimmed
2 teaspoons dukhah*
a drizzle extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Combine the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste. Divide between 2 plates.
Cook the duck eggs in a small pan of boiling water for 7-8 minutes. Drain and immediately refresh under cold water to stop further cooking. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and cut in half.
Plunge asparagus spears into a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and shake dry.
Arrange the asparagus spears over the tahini sauce, pop the egg halves on top and scatter over the dukhah. Drizzle with a little oil and serve.
- dukhah is available from Middle eastern stores, delis and some supermarkets