Salad of asparagus with quail egg, parmesan velouté and pancetta

Salad of asparagus with quail egg, parmesan velouté and pancetta

By
From
Nuovo Mondo
Makes
4
Photographer
Alan Benson

In Mildura we get asparagus that is world class, and at the height of its season it is our favourite vegetable. The cooking method is unconventional, but once mastered, it will be your benchmark for cooking asparagus. This method uses both pressure-cooking and steaming to cook the asparagus in about twenty seconds. If you are uncomfortable attempting this technique, just boil the asparagus in salted water.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g ice
16 asparagus spears, trimmed
a large pinch of salt
50ml vegetable oil
8 pancetta, about 2 mm thick
1 brioche or regular white bread, torn into small pieces
100g butter, melted
8 Boiled quail eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise

Parmesan velouté

Quantity Ingredient
500ml Chicken stock
4 thyme
2 garlic cloves, bruised
500ml uht milk
200g grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
1 titanium-strength leaf gelatine, soaked in cold water until soft
a pinch of salt flakes

Method

  1. Mix the ice with some water to prepare an ice bath – reserve about 10 ice cubes and place in a bowl with the asparagus. Season the asparagus liberally with salt.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-based saucepan until smoking. Hold the saucepan lid in one hand and the asparagus in the other. Quickly throw the asparagus and ice into the pan; the oil will spit, so cover with the lid immediately. Hold the lid down tightly and shake the pan every few seconds – after about 20 seconds the asparagus should be cooked. Pour the entire contents into the ice bath and chill. The asparagus will look raw and super green, but will be beautifully al dente. Set aside, unrefrigerated, until needed.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  4. Place the pancetta on a tray lined with baking paper and place a similar-sized tray on top. Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until crisp and brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. Place the brioche pieces on a baking tray and brush with the melted butter to coat. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  6. To make the parmesan velouté, put the stock in a saucepan over high heat. Add the thyme and garlic and simmer until the stock has reduced to about 150 ml. Strain into a clean saucepan, discarding the thyme and garlic. Add the milk, place over high heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Remove the gelatine from its soaking water. Squeeze out excess water and stir into the milk until dissolved. Use a hand-held stick blender to combine well. Season with salt, and keep warm over low heat.
  7. When you are ready to serve, divide the asparagus between serving plates and arrange the quail eggs on top. Garnish with the pancetta.
  8. Heat the velouté until it is almost boiling. Blend the mixture again using a hand-held stick blender until light and frothy. Spoon the froth, and then some of the velouté, generously over the salad. Garnish with the roasted bread.
Tags:
Stefano
de
Pieri
Jim
James
McDougall
Italian
Italy
European
Mediterranean
Stefanos
Stefano's
chef
restaurant
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