Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spring in five minutes

My idea of what constitutes ‘easy’, food-wise, is a bit skewed. Food is one of my hobbies, so I don’t mind the laborious process of rolling out tortillas, say, or getting my hands (and hair, and face, and elbows) sticky with cake batter. Some people will always hate spending time in the kitchen, but as a from-scratch evangelist, I prefer to believe that most of us just haven’t been taught to enjoy cooking, or don’t realise how simple and satisfying it can be.

We’ll get to you-all in the second group later. But this, I think, is the perfect regional meal for the hate-to-cook crowd.

Poached eggs are great; fussing with strainers and vinegar and those tiny, hot whirlpools is not. Go for a soft-boiled egg instead: this light tan beauty came from our friend’s flock, so big-bottomed it barely fit inside my eggcup. Asparagus dabbed with butter—have I mentioned how hard I’ve fallen for this butter? Once you’ve gotten used to its fine pale shade, the others look garishly coloured—takes the place of toast soldiers for dipping.

That’s lunch (or dinner, or…) in five minutes.

A reasonably reliable method of achieving soft-yolked goodness:
In a small pot, completely cover the egg with cold water. When it comes to a roiling boil—the bubbles should be big and audibly knocking the egg about—start a timer for 2:15 (that’s minutes and seconds, for a small egg) and 2:30 (for a large one). Remove from the water and slice the top off after thirty seconds or so. Eat immediately.

Our pot has a little steamer that sits on top, so I just place the asparagus overtop the boiling water for 1:30 or so. If you don’t have one, you could always boil them in the same water or steam them in the microwave for a short time.