Monday, May 26, 2014

Green & White

As I’m sitting in front of my computer writing these words, I can hear S upstairs playing his guitar. He's improvising, working on a track. In a little while, he will come downstairs and ask me to come up. He'll want my opinion on the music, ask me if it inspires me to write lyrics and sing to it. And then, perhaps, I will ask him to read what I've been writing here and tell me what he thinks.

I love these habits we have developed, the moments of communication on a creative level and beyond. These small realities of our everyday life are precious and revitalizing.

Another sort of habit we have involves Saturday and Sunday morning treats. Sometimes it’s croissants from the bakery with homemade jam and French press coffee, others it’s something from The Hague open market, in the form mainly of bread rings covered in sesame seeds that they sell at the Turkish stalls and that resemble the Greek ones.

Most of the times, it includes eggs. A brunch of sorts, just for the two of us. During the winter it’s fried eggs with feta. Now, at springtime, it’s poached or boiled eggs with asparagus or avocado, sometimes simply with a sprinkling of sumac and other times a little more complex and adorned, with a lemony, homemade mayonnaise sauce.

This creamy sauce is essentially a thin mayonnaise made with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and egg yolks. It is delicious. It’s sharp, rich and full-bodied and complements perfectly the nutty green and white asparagus, the soft-boiled egg and the slices of ham served over a nicely toasted slice of rye bread.

It’s a good brunch dish to have with friends on a Sunday or even for lunch on a less busy day spent at home.

Green and white asparagus on toasted rye bread with ham, soft-boiled eggs and a creamy, lemony, homemade mayonnaise sauce

This time I blanched/boiled my asparagus, but they’re also quite tasty grilled.

Cook your eggs to your liking. I usually prefer mine runny in the middle (6-minute egg, which I need to share how it’s done with you at some point), but this time I opted for a little firmer (8-minutes).

This homemade mayonnaise contains raw egg yolks so be careful not to serve it to people with compromised immune systems, infants, the elderly, or pregnant ladies. Make sure to use eggs of trustworthy origin and as fresh as possible.

Yield: 6 servings / 1½ cup creamy mayonnaise sauce


for the creamy mayonnaise sauce
4 medium egg yolks
Juice of 1 lemon (70-80 ml)
Freshly ground black pepper
150 ml extra virgin olive oil

350 g fresh green asparagus
500 g fresh white asparagus
Extra virgin olive oil
6 thin slices ham
6 large eggs, boiled to your liking
6 rye bread slices, toasted
Freshly ground black pepper

Special equipment: small food processor (or blender), vegetable peeler


for the creamy mayonnaise sauce
In the bowl of a food processor (or in a blender), add the egg yolks, lemon and a little salt and pepper, and pulse 2-3 times to blend. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil at a very slow pace through the top of the lid, until incorporated. In the end you will have a thin mayonnaise sauce that resembles a thick dressing rather than the classic stiff mayonnaise, the recipe of which you can find here. Taste and add more salt or pepper if you think it needs it.
Keep the mayonnaise sauce refrigerated and covered until ready to use. Use it the same day you prepare it.

Peel and trim the woody stems of the green asparagus (read in this post how to trim them).
Peel the white asparagus and trim 1 cm off the bottom part of each spear.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil over high heat, add the white asparagus and boil them for 6-8 minutes (depending on their thickness) or until tender, without putting the lid on the pan. Test them by inserting the tip of a knife into one of the spears.
Remove them with a slotted spoon, draining them well, and place them in large plate.

In the same water, add the green asparagus and blanch them for 2-4 minutes (depending on their thickness) or until they are tender, without putting the lid on the pan. You can test them by inserting the tip of a knife into one of the spears. Be careful not to boil them for too long, they need to be a little crunchy.
Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them in the large plate with the white asparagus.
Toss them with a little olive oil.

Note: Blanching means to plunge raw vegetables or fruit into boiling water, and boil them for a few seconds to a few minutes (depending on the fruit/vegetable), until they slightly soften but still retain their crisp texture and vivid color.

To serve, place the toasted bread slices on plates. Fold on top a slice of ham. Lay 3-4 whole asparagus on top and drizzle some of the mayonnaise sauce over the top. Cut in half the eggs, place them on top and season with salt and pepper. If the eggs are runny, it’s best if you let each person cut open their own egg to watch the yolk ooze out.
Put the mayonnaise sauce in a bowl at the table and let everyone help themselves to more.



  1. I love weekend habits, they're so comforting. It's similar in my house - cups of tea in bed, followed by eggs of some sort. Perfect.

  2. What a gorgeous, simple and elegant brunch. The green and white asparagus are beautiful. While this was your brunch, I think this will be our dinner this week Our bread is a plain homemade white boule, our ham is prosciutto, and our asparagus is purple - but I think those things will translate well for a light supper. Nothing is as nice as a homemade mayonnaise. Thanks for this beautiful post, Magda. ~ David

  3. This looks delicious and so healthy. Today on my post I wrote about my partner, Wouter's Mother, who died last week in Amsterdam. He is over there of course..I am I wrote about my favorite meal she would make when I was visiting her...white asparagus, ham & boiled eggs...I love it in any form. Lovely photos as usual.

  4. Just looking at those perfectly cooked eggs makes me swoon... and the combination of asparagus and eggs... one of my favorites!