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Asparagus Grilled Cheese with Poached Egg and Greens

In this recipe from Chef Tyler Florence, fresh asparagus and triple-cream cheese make a delicious filling for grilled sandwiches, which get a flavor boost from truffle mayonnaise. To preserve the aroma, don’t prepare the mayo more than an hour in advance.

Ingredients:

For the truffle mayonnaise:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 oz. fresh black truffle shavings or 1 1/2 tsp. truffle oil
  •  
  • 24 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
  • 8 slices buttermilk or sourdough bread, each about 1/2 inch
      thick
  • 3 to 4 oz. Mt. Tam triple-cream cheese, cut into 1/8-inch-thick
      slices
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. white vinegar
  • 4 eggs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for grilling sandwiches
  • 1 pint assorted greens and sprouts

Directions:

To make the mayonnaise, in a blender, combine the egg whites, mustard, lemon juice, salt and sugar and blend until smooth. With the blender running, add the grapeseed oil in a slow, steady stream so the mixture emulsifies. Remove about 3/4 cup of the mayonnaise and reserve for another use. Add the truffles or truffle oil to the remaining mayonnaise and blend again until smooth. Refrigerate in a sealed container until ready to use.

To cook the asparagus, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until tender and bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the asparagus and transfer to a bowl of salted ice water. Leave to cool for 1 minute, then drain and set aside.

To assemble the sandwiches, smear each slice of bread with some truffle mayonnaise. Top 4 of the slices with a slice of cheese, followed by a neat layer of asparagus spears arranged 1/2 inch apart, trimming the asparagus so they fit nicely on the bread. Season with salt and pepper, then cover each with one of the remaining slices of bread, mayonnaise side down.

To poach the eggs, fill a medium saucepan with 3 to 4 inches of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and add the vinegar. Working with 1 egg at a time, crack an egg into a small bowl. Stir the water with a wooden spoon to create a whirlpool,  then gently slide the egg into the center. The circulating water will cause the white to neatly envelop the yolk and yield a perfectly poached egg. Cook at a gentle simmer until the white sets and the egg is just firm enough to handle but still tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the egg and drain well on a paper towel.

To grill the sandwiches, drizzle the sandwiches on both sides with a little olive oil. Grill in a panini press on medium-high heat until the sandwiches are golden brown and the cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, cook the sandwiches in a nonstick fry pan for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Use a serrated knife to carefully cut each sandwich into individual finger-size portions, cutting between the asparagus spears. Serve the poached eggs with the grilled sandwich pieces immediately. Garnish with the greens and sprouts, and serve with dots of truffle mayonnaise. Serves 4.

Note: Try growing your own sprouts at home. Soak seeds (such as radish, alfalfa, clover, broccoli) in water to cover for about 8 hours. Rinse and spread evenly on a dampened piece of cheesecloth or paper towel set in a flat dish. Place in a sheltered but sunny, warm place. Moisten the cheesecloth with fresh water each morning and evening until the seeds begin to sprout.

Adapted from Tyler Florence Fresh, by Tyler Florence (Clarkson Potter, 2012).