Today is the fourth of May. A day to honor those we have lost in war. Today we realise we are lucky to be where we are and that it isn’t self-evident, that it has taken hard work and pain to get here. Hopefully, that message sinks in and we do something with it.
Big words, but I don’t know where to let them take me. I am not brave, I don’t fight and, well, I don’t have a clue. Heck, I couldn’t even think of something appropriate to cook for today. What do you eat when you are supposed to be still and thoughtful, sobered by what has gone before? I thought of eating dry bread accompanied by a glass of water, but then I laughed at myself. I tried to think of black foods to eat, but felt that pasta with squid in its own ink would be dramatic rather than sober. And then my current affection for asparagus stirred and I decided the tall white stems would be dinner.
Asparagus are not the obvious solemn food. They happily whisper of spring and new beginnings. They sing “enjoy me now, we’re precious”. Around for a short time only, you cannot afford to dither or they will be gone before you get around to them. And maybe that is what this day is about, for the moment. About being here, today, and realising just how precious that is.
Asparagus with Soft Onions
Serves one, easily multiplied
1 small bunch of white asparagus, about 300 gr
1 large onion, sliced into thick half moons
2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp for serving
Thoroughly peel the asparagus, taking care to remove the stringy outer skin from the whole length of the stem, starting from just below the bulbous tip. Cook until tender but still firm (in a pan of water, over steam or in the microwave, with just enough water to cover the stems; start checking for doneness after ten minutes whatever method you use).
In the mean time, boil the egg to your liking. I like the yolk to be just a little runny and the white to be cooked through, so I boil a medium egg for about six minutes after I drop it in rapidly boiling water. Also heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy skillet and add the onions. Fry them until they are soft and light brown.
When the asparagus are done, put them in a shallow bowl or arrange them on a plate. Sprinkle with a tbsp of olive oil and toss them gently to give them a glossy sheen. Finely dice the egg. Spread over the top of the asparagus, and sprinkle with salt. Layer the fried onions on top. Enjoy hot or warm.