At Woods Hill Table we formulate dishes around the ingredients we get from our farm in New Hampshire, The Farm at Woods Hill. We use organic asparagus grown by a neighbor farmer. We grow our own oyster mushrooms on logs in the woods, and forage ramps in the forest. Our eggs are from our own pastured chickens. We use High Lawn butter from Lee, MA, and we make our own chicken stock.
This dish is inspired by the classic combination of asparagus and eggs in the spring. Owning our own farm lets us see exactly why this is a classic French pairing, as when the asparagus is coming up, the chickens are laying eggs, the ramps are plentiful in the woods at the farm, and the oyster mushrooms are ready to harvest.
18 large stalks of asparagus
1 handful of ramps or 1 bunch of scallions
6 large eggs
4 ounces oyster mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 stick grass-fed butter
1 organic lemon, juiced
8 ounces homemade chicken stock (we make our own, or you can use Pacific Organic Free Range Chicken Broth)
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon minced chives
salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Take each asparagus spear and hold it by the bottom third, gently bending until the bottom section snaps off—this part is woody and can be discarded.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and generously salt it, so the water tastes like the ocean. Prepare a bowl with equal parts ice and water. Dunk the asparagus in boiling water for about a minute and then place in bowl of ice water to quickly cool.
Use the same boiling water and carefully add the eggs, setting a timer for 5 ½ minutes. Remove asparagus from ice bath, and set aside to drain on paper towels, reserving the ice water. When the timer is up, take eggs out of the boiling water and place in the ice bath to fully cool. Toss oyster mushrooms and ramps in a bowl with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a sheet tray in the hot oven for 5–7 minutes until just warmed through.
Combine chicken stock and butter in a sauté pan with some salt and pepper and boil together until mixture thickens and becomes viscous and bubbly. Meanwhile, peel the soft boiled eggs, being careful not to burst the yolk.
Add asparagus to the broth and butter mixture and remove from the heat, letting the asparagus gently warm in the glaze. Finish with a few drops of lemon juice and a sprinkle of chives.
To serve, arrange asparagus equally between 6 plates and top with the warm grilled ramps and oyster mushrooms. Finish by slicing an egg in half across and placing the two halves on the plate, runny yolk side up. Sprinkle more chives, some salt, and a bit of black pepper on top of the eggs. Serve immediately.
(Alternatively, you can present the asparagus on a large, family-style platter, with the ramps and mushrooms on top and runny eggs around the edge, sprinkled all over with chives and black pepper, then allow diners to serve themselves.)
Charles Foster is the chef of Woods Hill Table in Concord, MA.