Springtime mini-cocottes with eggs and asparagus
List of ingredients
8 spears of freshly-gathered new season green asparagus
2 scallions, finely chopped
6 tablespoons of crème fraîche
4 fresh free-range or organic eggs
Chives, fleur de sel from the Ile de Ré, soft white bread and butter
A Petit Chablis would take on this encounter with assurance, thanks to its powerful aromatic intensity combining with the vegetal flavors of the green asparagus. Spring and meadow flavors, of fresh hay and wild flowers combined with its toasted notes makes a perfect combination with this seasonal vegetable. In the mouth, the more neutral, delicate flavor of the asparagus is brought out by the subtle saline hints of a Petit Chablis. Its vivacity and energy provide structure to this creamy dish.
Carefully peel the asparagus spears, taking care to only remove the fibrous outer layer. Rinse in cold water to remove any lingering sand. Tie them into a bunch and trim to the same length.
Cook them vertically in a saucepan with no lid, in salted, boiling water. The tips should be just above the water line as they cook quicker than the stalks and will thus preserve their subtle flavor. Drain and blot on a tea towel, and then cut into even-sized pieces.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place two tablespoons of crème fraîche in each mini-cocotte, along with the shallots and asparagus. Break an egg on top, and bake for 10 minutes.
After cooking, sprinkle with chopped chives and a few grains of salt. Serve with fingers of buttered toast.
Make a puree by blending a few asparagus spears with some cream and potato to add to the mini-cocotte. For a more local Bourgogne flavor, use purple-tipped white asparagus from the Côte d’Or or the Yonne, and those from the villages of Ruffey and Verdigny in particular. A suave, generous wine such as a Chablis would be perfect with this asparagus that is less vegetal on the nose.