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Asparagus & Polenta with Truffle Dressing

Treasured since ancient times, truffles are among the world’s great delicacies. Most come from Europe, and they are famously abundant and delicious in France’s Périgord region. Here, just a small amount of this aromatic fungus complements the hearty polenta and offsets the delicate, grass-like asparagus with its earthy, delectable flavor.

Ingredients

Truffle Dressing:

  • 3½ T (50 ml) olive oil
  • 3 T (45 ml) champagne vinegar
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) truffle oil
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) black truffle paste
  • ¼ tsp (2.5 g) salt
  • ¼ tsp (1 g) pepper

Polenta:

  • 1¾ C (400 ml) water
  • ½ C (100 ml) milk
  • ¼ tsp (2.5 g) salt
  • ¼ C (55 g) medium-grain polenta
  • 2 T (20 g) grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp (1 g) pepper

Asparagus:

  • 1 lb (400 g) med asparagus, ends peeled

Eggs:

  • 1 tsp (5 ml) white vinegar
  • 2 qt (1.8 l) water
  • 5 lg eggs

Garnish:

  • 6 oz (200 g) parmesan cheese, shaved

Directions

Dressing & Polenta: : Whisk together all dressing ingredients; set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring water, milk and salt to a boil over high heat; gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce to low and simmer, whisking constantly until creamy, about 18 minutes. Stir in cheese and pepper; transfer to a bowl; cover tightly until ready to serve.

Asparagus: : Add asparagus to lightly salted boiling water; cook just until stalks turn bright green, about 2 minutes. Drain; set aside.

Eggs: Bring vinegar and water to a simmer in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Break each egg into a separate small bowl, being careful not to break the yolk. Slide eggs into barely simmering water, an inch or so between each egg. Cook until whites are just firm, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.

Assembly: Place a spoonful of polenta on each appetizer plate; place asparagus over polenta and poached egg on asparagus. Sprinkle with parmesan; drizzle with truffle dressing. Serve immediately.

Note: Eggs can be poached up to a day in advance and refrigerated. Prior to plating, place in simmering water 30 seconds to heat.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes.
  • Cook time: 25 minutes.
  • Makes 5 servings.