It’s time to make a confession: until this weekend, I’ve tried asparagus just once in my life. In Ukrainian south where I have grown up asparagus is not a traditional crop. It was not widely known until the last few years when some farms started to grow it on commercial basis. First asparagus I’ve bought was planted in the West of Slovakia (Veľké Leváre city) where a big farm that grows asparagus is located. Last year I baked it with cheese and butter and it was so delicate that as soon as I noticed that fresh asparagus is available at our market in Žilinská street, I bought it immediately.
I had no doubts how to cook it as I was already inspired by Blake Bashoff who posted a dish with polenta and asparagus. Polenta was my “food of the year” two years ago when I was flirting with gluten free diet. Flirt ends, I can’t eat polenta so often because I’m overdosed with it, but for special occasion I can cook it again. So here comes a recipe: baked white asparagus with soft bryndza cheese and broccoli polenta.
Ingredients for 2 portions
3/4 cup of instant polenta
8 pieces of white asparagus
200 g of broccoli (I used frozen)
100 g of bryndza cheese
Salt, pepper, olive oil, Provence herb mix
- Preheat an oven to 250C. Wash asparagus, remove woody ends (aprox 4cm from the end) and peel stalks. Narrow ends are most tender part, so you don’t need to peel them. Put baking paper on a baking pan, put asparagus there, season it with salt, pepper and olive oil (life hack: use pastry brush to cover asparagus with oil properly). Bake it until asparagus becomes soft, my asparagus was quite thin so it took almost 20 min to make it ready.
- While asparagus is baking, you can cook 3 other parts of the dish. Let’s start with polenta. Put 1 cup of polenta to a big enough bowl, add a little bit of salt and cover it with just boiled water. Steer properly, then add bryndza cheese and stir once again. As we will need a soft polenta, you will have to add more boiled water and stir it until it becomes cooked. Right texture should remind of mashed potatoes.
- Steam broccoli, stir it a little bit to make it homogeneous and add to polenta. Stir all together.
- Make 2 sunny side up eggs. I bet you don’t need any directions how to do it 🙂
- Put a layer of polenta, then asparagus and fried eggs on the top. Season with a pinch of Provence herbs.
It takes 25 minutes to cook this tasty dish so I think I will repeat it this spring. And I can’t wait to see green asparagus at the market.