Is it asperges à la milanaise? Is it asparagus alla milanese? Is it brunch? Is it a salad? Is it dinner? Is the asparagus from a greenmarket/farmers market? Yes*, yes, yes, yes, yes and I hope so.
* Technically, Escoffier did not include fried eggs in his recipe, but I’m sure he would approve.
1 bunch of asparagus
¼ cup of grated Parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano) cheese
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 more tablespoon of olive oil for frying the eggs
Pinch of powdered mustard
I've determined that snapping off bottoms of the asparagus with your fingers is an old wives’ tale and wastes precious fresh asparagus. Instead, use a knife to slice off about a ¼ inch from the bottoms of the asparagus and taste test to check that the woody portion has been sufficiently removed.
If the asparagus are thick, then peel the bottoms with a potato peeler. If pencil thin, you can leave them as is. Cook your asparagus for about 2 minutes in boiling water, microwave (which works surprisingly well) or grill. Test to make sure they are cooked to your taste.
While the asparagus is cooking make a vinaigrette by whisking the vinegar, olive oil, powdered mustard, salt and pepper.
While the asparagus is still warm, gently toss with the vinaigrette.
Heat a small pan on medium heat and once hot, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Then, gently fry the eggs sunny side up style.
Plate the asparagus and gently slide the fried eggs on top. Top generously with the grated Parmesan.