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Photo Courtesy: Tiffany Mathewson

Cooking In: Fresh Asparagus Makes for a Bomb Brunch, Courtesy of Tilth

During these crazy times, making a home-cooked meal can be cathartic. But if you're like me, you can find yourself in a rut, making the same things over and over again. That's why I enlisted the help of my chef friends from all over the Seattle area. I got each one to send me an easy-to-follow recipe folks can make at home using pantry staples or ingredients that are usually readily available at your local grocery store. It's a weekly series we're calling Cooking In. Interested in other recipes? We've also tried making Ba Sa's scrumptious shrimp toast, John Sundstrom's delectable rhubarb crisp, the Woodmark Hotel's signature granola, Ethan Stowell's famous rigatoni and Spark Pizza's incredible, yup, you guessed it, pizza.

Spring has sprung, and the weather is finally starting to warm up. That's a sure sign our local fruits and vegetables are coming into season. This week, we're using Washington-grown asparagus to make a quick and ultra-flavorful brunch dish: Roasted Asparagus with Poached Eggs, Mushrooms and Buttered Breadcrumbs, courtesy of Tilth in Wallingford.

Serving New American cuisine with a focus on certified organic ingredients, Tilth has been a Seattle favorite since Maria Hines opened the restaurant back in 2006. The James Beard Award-winner is still heavily involved, but now executive chef Felicia Saathoff runs the show in the kitchen. Felicia wrote this recipe for cremini mushrooms, but she tells me you can easily substitute your favorite kind of mushrooms. Another tip: when it comes to the produce and even the eggs, the fresher, the better.

Since you're making brunch, consider taking a break from cooking tonight and order one of Tilth's heat-at-home takeout dinners. The restaurant is focused on comfort foods like soups, roasted chicken and St. Louis-style smoked ribs. You can order here for curbside pickup. Tilth is also available for delivery through Caviar.

Roasted Asparagus with Poached Eggs, Mushrooms and Buttered Breadcrumbs

Buttered Bread Crumbs

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 c panko breadcrumbs
  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat
  2. Slice the butter and add it to the pan to melt
  3. Once melted, the butter will foam up a bit, then subside
  4. Watch carefully as lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan (it will develop a nutty aroma)
  5. Remove 1/4 cup of the butter from the pan and reserve it for the vinaigrette
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the breadcrumbs
  7. Continue to stir until the breadcrumbs are evenly browned and crisped
  8. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to cool

Lemon-Brown Butter Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 c meyer lemon juice + 1 tbsp zest (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp tarragon leaves
  • 1 egg yolk (from pasteurized eggs)
  • 1/4 c browned butter, melted
  • 1/4 c canola or vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. In a blender combine juice, zest, tarragon, egg yolk and honey
  2. Blend to mix
  3. With the blender still running, slowly pour in the oil and then the melted brown butter
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste, blend to combine
  5. Set aside

Roasted Asparagus

  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Break off the tough ends of the asparagus
  3. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, then toss to coat the asparagus completely
  4. Spread the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper
  5. Roast the asparagus until tender but still crisp, approximately 10 minutes for thin spears, longer for thicker ones

Roasted Mushrooms

  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 lbs cremini mushrooms
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F
  2. In a bowl, toss mushrooms in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and thyme
  3. Place mushrooms in a single layer onto a baking sheet
  4. Place into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until browned and tender, tossing occasionally
  5. Once both asparagus and mushrooms are roasted transfer to a serving platter or individual plates

Poached Eggs

  • 4 eggs
  1. Fill a saucepan with several inches of water
  2. Heat the water on high until it reaches a boil and then lower the heat until the water is at a bare simmer (just a few bubbles coming up now and then)
  3. Add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to the water
  4. One at a time, crack the egg into a small bowl or cup
  5. Place the bowl close to the surface of the hot water and gently slip the egg into the water
  6. Add all of the eggs you are poaching to the pan, in the same way, keeping some distance between them
  7. Turn off the heat and cover the pan
  8. Set a timer for 3 minutes, the egg whites should be completely cooked, while the egg yolks are still runny
  9. If necessary poach an additional minute or until eggs are cooked to your liking

Finishing touches

  1. Lift the poached eggs out of the pan with a slotted spoon and place on top of asparagus and mushrooms
  2. Drizzle plates with vinaigrette and top with breadcrumbs