Gilles is traveling for work this week, and my meals have consisted largely of salads, dinners at friends’ houses, and leftovers from before Gilles left (food takes a little longer to disappear when he’s not around). Tonight, finding myself on my own and quite ready for a break from salad, I very nearly went for a dinner of Yogurtland. However, the leftover grilled asparagus in the fridge guilt-tripped me into making something of it. Reluctant to do too much slicing or stirring, I found a few other items knocking around and made a little Single Lady picnic plate.
The asparagus spears had been grilled on a BBQ with a little lemon juice and salt. Otherwise, I would have sauteed them in a pan over high heat with some oil and lemon juice. I wrapped the asparagus in prosciutto and put it in the oven at 450 deg F for about 10 mins, until the ham was nicely crispy (but not overly so).
It turns out the Joubert household also goes through bread a lot slower when there is only one Joubert present, so the bread is quite old. I cut a few thin slices and threw them in the oven with the asparagus to make some crostini.
Inspired by a “simple lunch” from Joy the Baker, I decided to hard boil an egg to go along with this dinner. Since it’s just me around, I thought I would follow some egg cooking instructions from Julia Child for entertainment. If you are looking for someone to tell you precisely how many seconds to cook something so that it is simply perfect, Julia is your woman. For example, she gives a picture-illustrated, 17-step process for forming a baguette loaf in The Way to Cook. This is after all the bread making, with the mixing, kneading, rising, and what-all, mind you. For the the eggs, she didn’t disappoint; a quick flip to the right page, and I discovered that eggs should be hard boiled in the following manner: place egg in pot of water, bring water to a boil and turn off the heat. Leave egg in covered pot of water for exactly 17 minutes. Transfer egg to ice water for two minutes. Bring water back to a boil, and replace egg for 10 seconds. Transfer egg back to ice water, breaking the shell gently in a few places. Honestly, with a cookbook from Julia Child, a girl could keep busy for a while. This may seem a crazy process for cooking an egg, and you are astute to observe that it is remarkable that I, self-professed recipe-ignorer, would go through such an ordeal, but here is the reason so many people are obsessed with the recipes of Julia Child: she figured out the how to flawlessly execute a dish (from the most simple to the most complex) and she wrote it down, in her exact terms, so that if you follow her instructions you will cook like a master chef. No kidding, the egg was the picture of perfection. I did not realize until eating this egg that most hardboiled eggs are overcooked (this one was soft and delicate), and I have never seen such a perfectly yellow yolk.
While the “cooking” was going on, I sliced a yellow tomato and halved an avocado, which I filled with vinaigrette (this is a great way to eat an avocado, if you’ve not tried it) . I plated the asparagus over the crostini, because it made me feel nice, but I ate the bread with smashed avocado and bits of egg, not with the asparagus. Before digging in, I cracked a whole mess of salt over everything. This meal was such a treat! More-so than fro-yo. The crispy ham around the grilled asparagus was especially enjoyable; it would make a tasty appetizer!