We’re nearing the end of asparagus season here in New Jersey – and fresh, local asparagus is one of the best things about springtime. Of course you can find asparagus nearly all year long, but when it’s locally grown and picked the same day you eat it, there’s a huge flavor difference.
Still, this recipe can be enjoyed at any time. And as good as asparagus is, this dressing, with capers, red onions, and parmesan cheese, competing for your attention.
The dish is so named because the chopped hard boiled eggs are meant to resemble the blossoms on mimosa trees. Unlike the pink blossoms on mimosa trees here in the Northeast U.S., in Italy, they’re yellow, and are traditionally given to women on International Women’s Day in early March.
Make sure you peel the asparagus, in order to avoid biting into a fibrous stalk. It also reduces the cooking time. Cut off the bottom 1/3 of the asparagus too.
Boil the stalks until they’re just barely fork tender, then remove them from the water and put them in ice water to stop the cooking.
Wipe them with paper towels to dry them, then toss with the dressing, and top with the hard boiled egg that’s been finely chopped.
Serve with some crusty toasted Italian bread that’s been slathered with good olive oil and salt, and you’ve got yourself a delicious, well-rounded meal that contains all the nutrients you need.
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1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tblsp. capers, minced
1 Tblsp. finely minced red onion
1 Tblsp. finely minced parsley
1 Tblsp. grated parmesan cheese
salt, pepper to taste
Peel the asparagus, then submerge them in a shallow pan of boiling water. Cook for about four or five minutes, until you can easily pierce a stalk with a fork. Drain the boiling water, then put the asparagus into ice water to stop the cooking (or run a lot of cold water over them).
Dry the asparagus well with paper towels.
Mince the hard boiled eggs finely with a knife, or pass through a sieve using a spoon.
Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together, then toss the asparagus with the dressing. (You may have some leftover dressing.) Arrange the asparagus spears on a serving platter, then scatter the minced hard boiled egg on top. Serve with good Italian bread that’s been toasted, smeared with olive oil and kosher salt.
Who needs a tutorial on making hard-boiled eggs? Well, maybe you if you’ve ever started to boil eggs only to have them crack and burst open in the water, releasing a gush of egg whites. Or have you ever cooked them to the point where the yolks aren’t a creamy yellow, but rather have a greenish tint around the edge? Do you find it difficult to peel off the shell without a layer of egg white coming along for the ride? Come on now, fess up.
Fear not, I’ve got a foolproof way to cook them to perfection, and easily peel them too, even if it’s a bit unorthodox. I’ve been using this method for so long, I don’t even remember where I first learned it. But it works every time, and I’ve been doing this for decades.
There are many opinions on how to cook hard boiled eggs – start with cold water, start with boiling water, etc. My method starts with boiling water, but you can’t just drop an egg into the water without following these instructions exactly.
First, you’ve got to pierce the eggs with the sharp tip of a knife or a large needle, or even a turkey skewer as I do. Poke a teensy little hole in the broader end of the egg. Look at the photo below and you’ll see a little hole in each egg. Don’t do this while they’re in the egg crate. You’ve got to hold the egg in the palm of one hand while poking a hole with the knife or needle, or any other sharp pointy object. Careful, because if you press the egg too hard, you could crack it and end up with a gooey, raw mess in your hand.
Why should this work, you ask? Because if you pierce the egg and then put it into the boiling water, you’ll see little bubbles percolate out of that teensy hole. The egg is creating a seal as all the air immediately rushes out, keeping all the contents of the egg inside. It really works, try it!
When the eggs are all in the water, set the timer to 12 minutes for medium size eggs, 13 minutes for large and a few seconds longer for jumbo.
After the appropriate time is up, take the eggs off the heat and drain the water. Immediately fill the pot with cold water. Change the water two times because the heat from the eggs will warm up the cold water. You want the eggs to stop cooking.
Now take each egg and crack it all around against your sink or countertop, but don’t peel it. Drop it back into the pot with the cold water. When you’re finished tapping all the eggs and putting them back in the water, start peeling. You’ll find that water has now seeped in between the cracks you made in the eggshell, allowing you to slip the shells off easily.
Peel the eggs and slice open. Inside is a moist golden yolk, and a perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg.
Next up, deviled eggs.
One caveat to this method is if the egg already has a crack in its shell, in which case you’ll find out as soon as you drop it in the boiling water because it will start to ooze its liquid immediately. Scoop it out immediately and save that one for scrambled eggs.