Have you overdosed on asparagus yet this spring? I certainly have, and yet I can't resist picking up a fat bunch every time I make a trip to the farmers market. It's like the asparagus is stalking me or something (so corny, I couldn't resist.) But really, they're just so perfect right now -- the spears long and lean, with hardly any woodiness at their bases, the purplish tips firm and fresh and tightly closed. Every batch has been incredibly tender and sweet, I can't get enough. A couple of nights ago, my dinner was an entire (and we're not talking diminutive!) bunch of asparagus, sauteed and then tossed with arugula, radicchio, endive, a drizzle of olive oil, and shavings of pecorino. Quite delicious, and yet also quite frightening that I was capable of consuming an entire bunch of asparagus, by myself, in one sitting.
Then we arrive at this lovely Saturday morning, a mere 36 hours after the asparagus overdose dinner. Considering what to make for breakfast with an orphan potato and a single egg, the newest bunch (yes, I've managed to acquire more -- some especially beautiful specimens from a farm in Riverhead, Long Island) began calling to me from the crisper, suggesting a sizzling cast-iron dalliance with cubes of potato, smoky and Hungarian hot paprikas, and a fried egg. Since apparently my resistance is futile when it comes to asparagus, I went along for the delicious ride, even throwing in a couple of bulbs of spring garlic, thinly sliced to reveal the little embryonic cloves forming inside, for a hit of fresh, green garlicky flavor. A fantastic combination.
paprika potatoes and asparagus with spring garlic
and a fried egg, if you like
Cook this in a cast iron skillet, if possible -- something magical happens to potatoes in cast iron. Green beans would also be great in places of the asparagus.
extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 thin-skinned potato, such as Yukon gold, cut into small cubes (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
1/4 lb of asparagus (10 spears or so), sliced into short lengths (about 3/4 cup)
2 bulbs spring garlic (green stalk discarded), thinly sliced (or scallions)
1 to 2 eggs (optional)
- Heat 1 tbsp oil and butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When butter stops foaming, add potato cubes, a pinch of salt, and the paprika. Cook until the potatoes are golden brown on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and cook for another 3 minutes or so, until easily pierced with a fork.
- Add asparagus and stir to combine. Add a very small amount of water (1 to 2 tsp), cover pan, and cook for about 3 minutes, until asparagus are tender. If any liquid remains in pan, cook uncovered for a few minutes to let it evaporate. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle spring garlic on top.
- If making the fried eggs: heat 2 tsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat, add eggs, and cook for about 5 minutes or to desired doneness (I like the whites firm and yolks still a little runny).
- Arrange the fried eggs on top of the potatoes and asparagus, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Eat right away!