15 minutes
to cook

[object Object]Cook in season recipes with Alex Mackay - cook, teacher, cookery writer - sponsored by Grana Padano PDO cheese

This is fresh, creamy, crunchy and irresistible. Make sure you have plenty of bread on hand to mop up the sauce. For my cooks tips take a look at the video reel on instagram as I have a different way of preparing asparagus than you will be used to. It results in much less waste than the traditional snapping technique. The method I use to cook the asparagus may also be new to you, it only works in this quantity because the asparagus need to be in the pan in a single layer to cook evenly. For larger quantities, you’ll need to steam or boil the spears.

Serves 2 or 4 as a starter Preparation time: 30 minutes; Cooking time: 15 minutes; Difficulty: Easy

  • method
  • Ingredients


Spring Onion & Grana Padano Sauce
1. Put the cream into a small saucepan, bring it to the boil.
2. Whisk in the Grana Padano.
3. Bring back to boil, whisking constantly. Stir in the chives.
4. Season to taste with salt and lots of black pepper. Add a little hot water if the sauce is too thick. Set aside.

The Asparagus
5. Peel the woody bases of the asparagus where the colour is darker. Cut a sliver off the base of the stalk. Then another, taste and it should be fine to use without trimming further. You do not need to snap asparagus unless they are very woody, you waste much less using my technique.
6. Bring the water and butter to the boil. Add the asparagus in a single layer. Put the lid on. Boil the asparagus for 3-5 minutes until they are just tender. Check with the tip of a knife as you would for a potato.
7. Take the lid off. Boil until the water evaporates and the asparagus are glazed. Take the pan off the heat.

Poached Eggs
8. Add the vinegar to the water. Bring the water to the boil.
9. Break each egg into the water, start at the top of the pan and go clockwise so that you remember which one you put in first.
10. Swirl the water gently to coat the yolks with their whites. Turn down the heat. Poach the eggs for 2-4 minutes depending on how runny you like them.
11. If you get lots of raggedy bits around the edges, trim them with scissors.

12. Heat the sauce. Add a little hot water if it is too thick. Spoon half the sauce over your plates.
13. Put the asparagus on top.
14. Put the eggs alongside.
15. Sprinkle a few salt flakes over each egg. Spoon the remaining sauce over the eggs.
16. Put the Grana Padano crisps (if using) on the top at your table.

Grana Padano Crisps
You need to prepare your Grana Padano by blending it to fine crumbs in a food processor rather than grating it. You will need a 6cm pastry cutter and a non-stick baking sheet. If it is not non-stick, the crisps will stick. It is as simple as that.
Makes 12 crisps to serve.

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C / Rack position upper middle shelf.
2. Line a baking tray with a non-stick sheet.
3. Put a 6cm pastry cutter to use as a guide. Sprinkle a heaped tablespoon of Grana Padano into the cutter. Flatten the Grana Padano into a circle, remove the cutter then repeat at even intervals, giving enough space for the Grana Padano to melt. If you’re doing this for the first time, I’d do batches of 4-6 so that you can get the hang of shaping them without putting yourself under too much pressure.
4. Bake the Grana Padano circles in the pre-heated oven for 6-8 minutes (this varies a little according to the Grana Padano. More age = less moisture) until they are lightly browned and look dry, if they are moist, they will not harden. While the crisps bake, get a palette knife and a rolling pin or a broomstick ready on your worktop to shape the crisps over.
5. Take the crisps out of the oven and let them cool and harden very slightly for 5-10 seconds. Lift the crisps off the tray with your palette knife and shape them over the rolling pin. Leave to cool completely. Store in an airtight container until you need them. They are delicate and irresistible, so try not to break or eat them before your guests arrive.


Spring Onion & Grana Padano Sauce
150ml whipping cream
80g very finely ground or grated Grana Padano PDO cheese
10g chives, finely sliced or snipped with scissors
10-14 fat as possible asparagus spears, trimmed and peeled as per the video
150ml water
25g butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
The Eggs
1 litre water
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 large, very fresh duck or hen's eggs
Grana Padano Crisps
120g freshly blended Grana Padano PDO cheese
To Serve
Maldon salt flakes
6 Grana Padano PDO crisps (optional)


Prep Ahead: The crisps can be made a day ahead but must be kept in an airtight container

Using a fan-assisted oven? Click here

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