Inspired by Saveur’s April Sandwich issue, this is one of the first ideas I had when thinking about the green bounty of spring. Although it seems like a lot of work for a sandwich, if you cook the egg in advance along with the pickles, the rest comes together quickly and easily. Although I only made a sandwich for myself, you might as well double everything but the onions and share this with a friend or two. A note about cooking the egg: I have never liked hard-cooked eggs…until this year when I read Russ Parsons’ article about the correct way to cook (and avoid overcooking) hard-cooked eggs. By starting with cold water (enough to cover the egg), and bringing the water to a boil, cooking for one minute, and then removing pan from heat until water is cool enough to put your finger in without burning (about 20 minutes), the result is a perfectly cooked egg, more sunny yellow-orange than yellow with grey-green tinge, and most importantly (for me, at least) no trace of sulfur in the air. —gingerroot
spears asparagus, washed, woody ends broken off
slices thick bacon
sprigs of Italian parsley
Olive oil for drizzling
For the hard cooked egg spread:
hard cooked egg (see note about cooking egg)
capers, drained, finely chopped
Squeeze of a small Meyer lemon wedge (about 1 ½ t)
Freshly ground black pepper
For the pickled onions/leeks:
negi onion or baby leeks, trimmed, thinly sliced
white wine vinegar
whole black peppercorns
whole white peppercorns
small hot dried chile, such as chile de Arbol, trimmed, seeds removed
In This Recipe
PICKLE THE ONIONS AT LEAST 1 DAY AHEAD:
Place thinly sliced negi or baby leeks in a heatproof container with a tight-fitting lid. Using a mortar and pestle, lightly crush seeds, peppercorns and chile. Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Add crushed spice mixture. Bring to a boil, cook for two minutes. Pour hot mixture over onions. Cover and refrigerate at least one day, up to two days. Note: This makes enough onions for at least two sandwiches.
WHEN READY TO ASSEMBLE SANDWICH:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with foil. Place asparagus on foil; drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt. Roast for 10 minutes, shaking pan once halfway. Asparagus are finished when they are fragrant, slightly wrinkled, but still juicy. Set pan aside to cool.
Meanwhile, toast baguette in a dry pan over medium low heat or in a toaster.
Place bacon in a cool, dry skillet and cook over medium heat until golden crisp and fat is rendered. Remove from pan and allow pieces to drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Make hard-cooked dressing by slicing egg in half and removing yolk. Grate yolk into a small bowl. Finely chop cooked white and add to bowl. Add olive oil, chopped capers, lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Mixture should have an egg salad consistency. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.
Lay toasted baguette halves on a plate. Spread hard cooked egg dressing on one half. Top with parsley sprigs, breaking to fit bread if necessary. On the other piece of baguette, break bacon slices to fit bread. Add a generous quarter cup of drained pickled onions. Top with roasted asparagus. Carefully put sandwich together, pressing down slightly. Cut in half and enjoy immediately.