Chargrilled asparagus with a fried egg & salsa macha

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I filched this recipe from the Guardian and adapted it slightly. Got to find new things to do with asparagus! There are so many lovely thin green spears at the moment that simply chargrilling is fine –  need no steaming. That’s better for the thicker ones.

Salsa macha is a Mexican sauce, found up and down the coastline of Baja California. Garlic is poached gently in oil, followed by peanuts, dried red chillies and sesame seeds. The resulting oil is drizzled over the hundreds of different seafood tostadas. ITs a slightly strange taste, but rather noice when you get used to it – and hot!!

You can also make it with hazelnuts, goes well with asparagus. Double up as required…

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 2

300g asparagus
4 eggs
60g butter or oil
1 handful parsley, leaves picked
(optional)

For the salsa macha
5 large garlic cloves
, peeled
60g hazelnuts
40g sesame seeds
10g dried red chillies
½ tsp caster sugar
3 anchovies
(optional)
300ml flavourless oil (I used rapeseed)
1 tsp flaky salt

Start with the salsa macha. Heat half the oil in a small pan over a very low heat, add the garlic cloves and simmer in the oil until golden – about five minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl.

Now fry the chillies until gently darkened in colour but not burnt – one to two minutes. Transfer to the bowl, and repeat with the hazelnuts, toasting until they, too, are a pale gold. Remove the nuts, roughly chopping half of them for the garnish, and put the rest in the bowl. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan.

Blitz the sesame seeds and chillies in an upright blender for one minute. Now add the whole peanuts or hazelnuts, the garlic, sugar and anchovies (if you are using them) and pulse a few times. Add just enough oil to blitz to a rough paste. Add the rest of the oil, including the cooking oil, pulse once more, and taste, adding enough salt so that it tastes rounded and delicious.

When you are ready to eat, heat two serving plates. Steam the asparagus for five minutes, and transfer to a griddle (or cook them straight on the griddle if they are the super-thin ones) and cook over a very high heat until they are beautifully charred and tender.

Wipe the pan, then fry the eggs in a little more oil or butter until crisp around the edges. Serve the eggs on top of the grilled asparagus, pour over the sauce, then scatter with the parsley and chopped nuts. You will need lovely bread to mop up the sauce.

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