Boiled eggs and soldiers are firm favourites in this house. And at this time of year the best soldiers have to be asparagus, with the rich abundant yolks of goose eggs perfect for dipping.
Not the most patient of cooks when it comes to fiddly sauces, I have to admit to not being a hollandaise expert. So I love the idea from Alex at Dale Cottage Diaries idea that if you add a drop of vinegar to the egg yolk of a soft boiled egg, it makes an easy hollandaise substitute.
I was also inspired by Rusty Pig at Ottery St Mary when we visited Mazzard Farm recently. Rusty Pig were cooking a Saturday night feast for a group of partying farmers when I popped in. The feast started with an ‘edible table’ where everyone could tuck into a spread of proscuitto style ham (from free-range pigs reared at local smallholdings), goose eggs and asparagus.
We don’t have geese, but are lucky to have a couple of great farmshops just down the hill with us. The goose egg season is short and obviously asparagus isn’t around for long too. So I was very excited that it coincided with our air-dried ham being ready too.
The air-dried ham from our pigs had been hanging in a cage in our open woodshed – protected from the worst of the elements (and inquisitive animals) but with wind able to dry it. We were still nervous when we unwrapped it from its muslin, wondering if we had a foodie treat or a mouldy mess on our hands. Amazingly it was the former.
It’s quite strong tasting, pretty salty and best savoured in thin slivers. I’ve added it sparingly to risottos, frittata with goats cheese and it’s adding a lot of flavour to countless meals.
The saltiness goes perfectly with fresh asparagus and the richness of egg yolks. This isn’t a recipe, more of an idea. But I boil goose eggs for about 7 minutes for a nicely runny yolk. The asparagus is steamed for a few minutes and everyone can help themselves – wrapping slivers of air-dried ham around the asparagus if they like and dipping the ‘soldier’ into an egg. It’s worth varying it with purple sprouted broccoli dipped in soft boiled eggs too. All you need is some good bread and butter and this is such an easy but lovely treat of a supper.
Not sure if I’ll be able to find goose eggs, but asparagus soldiers with a boiled egg sounds like a brilliant idea!
Absolutely, I love asparagus dipped in hens eggs too.
Like you I can never be bothered with hollandaise sauce. Your version does look tasty. As well as doing parma ham on asparagus, we also do them with shavings of parmesan with a little E.V olive oil.
Funnily enough I’ve just had asparagus with parmesan shavings this evening – it’s a lovely combination isn’t it. Sometimes with some torn basil too.
I’m so pleased your ham has turned out so well, we have a few weeks to wait yet, but hopefully it will be OK, really looking forward to it now! Your goose egg looks lovely, did Ruby manage a whole one? Our Ruby once ate 8 goose eggs when we were trying to breed some goslings, she waited until the goose got off the nest and scoffed the lot!
Oh no, how infuriating with the goose eggs, I bet Ruby wasn’t popular. I’m still feeling so lucky that our ham turned out well – maybe we had beginners luck, but we’re going to be hooked now. We’re going to have to have pigs again when we run out. Fingers crossed with yours. I’m thinking how good little shavings of the ham are going to be with the first little broad beans.
So simple, but so special to have your own air-dried ham for this dish. Like the tip about adding a drop of vinegar to the yolk. Will try.
I’m so pleased that our air-dried ham is providing lots of little bits of salty flavour to so many meals. Still can’t believe our luck that it worked and wasn’t a mouldy mess when we unwrapped it.
Excellent and delicious! I’m still waiting for the first asparagus – hopefully the farmer will have some this weekend 🙂
Thank you. Asparagus is such a lovely treat when it eventually arrives isn’t it – asparagus risotto, roast asparagus with parmesan & just plain asparagus will hopefully be eaten lots here over next month or so.
Can’t beat dippy eggs with PSB or Asparagus – surely that’s what their long stems were designed for? I do love hollandaise, but rarely actually make it….had a couple of disasters mid-making when the kids called me to something urgent (that probably wasn’t urgent at all!) and it curdled. It’s a tricky business.