If you don’t like using really great, European-style butter as a flavoring and key component in a dish, you should click away now. If you don’t have a fear of la beurre, then this is a recipe for you. I’d originally thought of it as a Mother’s Day Brunch dish, hence the hearts, but it could just as well be a weeknight supper or anytime meal, it is so easy to put together.
Asparagus are now really in season in New York, as are eggs (they have great flavor and color in the springtime), so this is a perfect meal to make at this time of year. Fluffy, golden eggs, given extra flavor due to the herb butter, just melt in your mouth. The puff pastry is an extra decorative touch that also gives a crunchy and light side note to the creaminess of the eggs and the woodsiness of the asparagus. Coating the vegetables in the same seasoning as the eggs pulls the dish together even more tightly.
The compound butter that is a component of this recipe is simple to make and freezes really well. I make a bit extra and keep it in my freezer to add an additional pop of flavor to grilled vegetables or meats. The hearts were made using my regular cookie cutters, which is another way to consider a kitchen item that might usually just sit in a cabinet waiting for that holiday to be used each year. For me, this was sort of a fun dish to make, as it brought together so many wonderful individual ingredients, much like getting friends who have never met each other around the table for a great meal and good conversations.
Asparagus and Scrambled Eggs with Herb Butter
Serving Size: 2 portions
Prep Time: 30 minutes
1 sheet Puff Pastry (I used 1/2 sheet Dufours)
2 Tbsp good-quality unsalted butter (like President), softened to room temperature
2 tsp minced, fresh Tarragon
1 tsp minced Shallot
3/4 tsp Salt (1/2 plus 1/4)
1 pinch ground black Pepper
12-14 Asparagus spears
3 large Eggs
1 tsp. cream, milk or water (your preference)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using cookie cutter (heart shape optional) or knife cut out 4 pieces of the puff pastry (e.g., 4 hearts, 4 clovers, 4 triangles, 4 squares, etc.). Place on parchment paper or silicone sheet and bake on tray for 25 minutes, until puffed up and light golden brown. (I did not roll out the pastry or brush it with anything. I just let it thaw a bit and then cut out the hearts. This made them extra poofy when they cooked, as you can see in the end photo. For fun, I also baked the cut out pastry portion to snack on later.)
Put a saucepan of water on to boil. While the pastry is cooking and the water is boiling, prepare the butter mixture in a bowl. Cream [mix] together the softened butter, tarragon, shallot, 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Prep the asparagus. I’m a big fan of the bend-until-the-end-snaps method. You can also peel the ends until you get to a tender part, if that is your preference. Once the saucepan of water is boiling, add 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the asparagus to the water. Let them cook for about 3 minutes, until they are barely fork-tender (i.e., a fork just goes through them all the way). Remove them from the water and set them on a plate. It doesn’t matter if they get a bit cool.
In a bowl, crack the eggs and beat them lightly with a fork. Add the cream, milk or water and beat a bit more to incorporate the extra liquid. Check on the puff pastry. By this time, it should have risen at least a bit. At 7 minutes until the time the pastry should have finished cooking, put 2 tsp. of the herbed butter into a non-stick skillet and turn the heat on the stove to let it melt.
Once the butter has melted and the shallots start to sizzle a bit, add the cooked asparagus to the butter. Toss the asparagus in the butter mixture for 1 minute to coat the asparagus and to reheat them. Divide the asparagus among 2 plates and cover them with foil to keep warm.
Check on the puff pastry. If they are completely puffed up and the tops are light golden brown, remove them from the oven and leave them on the baking tray.
In the same skillet in which you cooked the asparagus, melt an additional 2 tsp to 1 Tbsp of herbed butter (or even just the rest of it, depending upon how you feel). Pour the eggs into the butter when it is melted and foamy. As the eggs start to cook, push them around and around the skillet gently with a rubber spatula so that the don’t sit at any point in the pan just completely cooking in one place (you are moving them around so that they stay light and fluffy). At the point where they are still so slightly wet, turn off the heat. The residual heat will continue to cook the eggs.
Divide the eggs between the two plates with the asparagus on them and place two of the hearts/puff pastry pieces on each of the plates. Season with extra salt, pepper, and chopped fresh tarragon as preferred.