I’ve just come back from a short holiday at the balmy sea-side location of Mount Maunganui. It’s on the East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island and is ‘right up there’ as one of New Zealand’s favourite summer destinations (I’ve included some photos below for those of you who want to check it out).
It’s fair enough to say that while I was there I ate like there was no tomorrow and now I’m suffering for it. So it’s back to the healthy stuff and first up is this easy Mediterranean inspired vegetarian dish – asparagus (which is in full season for us) with soft-boiled eggs and tapenade.
If I’m being honest, it’s meant to read ‘…and salsa verde’, rather than tapenade. But a funny thing happens when you process black olives – it turns a would-be green sauce into a purple one! Judging by the food image in New Zealand’s Taste magazine (Nov 2014), the team clearly cut their sauce ingredients rather than processed them, though they offered both options in their recipe. But hey, given the two sauces have virtually the same ingredients, it’s not really a biggie is it? And don’t you think the purple against the green is more aesthetically pleasing anyway?
I just loved the freshness of this warm spring salad as well as the contrast between the tender asparagus, warm runny egg yolks and the gutsy, bold tapenade. It goes fabulously well with some rustic chunky bread brushed with olive oil and rubbed with garlic clove. Enjoy!
And now I give you Mount Maunganui (Maori name ‘Mauao’, or simply referred to as ‘The Mount’)… queue the sound of lapping waves and seagulls…
ASPARAGUS WITH SOFT-BOILED EGGS & TAPENADE
Tapenade (or Salsa Verde)
- 2 large handfuls flat-leaf parsley
- 4 anchovies
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp capers
- 20 pitted black olives (reserve 6 olives to garnish)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 kg asparagus, woody ends removed
- 4 soft-boiled eggs, peeled
- Either hand-chop (for a salsa verde) or process (which will give you more of a tapenade) the parsley, anchovies, garlic, capers and olives.
- Add the Dijon mustard, lemon juice and olive oil and mix to combine. Season to taste.
- Steam asparagus in a large, lidded frying pan with a small amount of water and salt with the lid on, until it is bright green and just tender when pierced with a sharp knife (about 5 minutes). Drain asparagus and wrap in a clean tea towel to dry.
- Place the warm asparagus on a platter and carefully tear or cut eggs in half and arrange on top. Dress with the tapenade (or salsa verde).