I think asparagus is best when grilled. Some really luscious ingredients help accent it - the bacon, parmigiano, and poached egg with its awesome runny yolk. The balsamic vinaigrette brings acidity to the dish.
Great as a salad appetizer to a dinner or as brunch! —VivekS
For the salad
asparagus, trimmed and peeled
strips of thick cut bacon, cut into lardons
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, curled with a vegetable peeler
Toss the asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill asparagus for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until it is nicely marked and tender. Take off the grill and set aside.
Bring a large, wide pan filled with water to a simmer. Season the water with the vinegar – this will ensure the egg whites coagulate around the yolk when you poach the eggs. Crack the eggs and put them into individual bowls (or crack one at a time). When the water returns to a simmer, use a slotted spoon and start stirring the water clockwise until there is a bit of a vortex in the middle of the pot. Drop one egg into the middle of the vortex and watch as the egg white comes to surround the yolk. Let the egg cook for about 3 minutes, and then immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. At this point, your egg is almost perfectly cooked. Repeat with remaining eggs.
When you are ready to serve, insert the eggs back in the poaching liquid for about 45 seconds so they warm all the way through. This will result in great, runny yolks. If you want a hard yolk, just cook it longer, for about 2 minutes.
Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Slowly stream in the olive oil, while whisking, to emulsify the dressing. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
Cook the bacon by putting it in a cold pan over medium heat. Keep turning bacon, every few minutes, so it is evenly cooked, the fat renders, and it is crispy. Drain on paper towels.
To assemble the dish, lay a few asparagus spears on the plate. Top the asparagus with the poached egg. Scatter the bacon around the plate. Using a vegetable peeler, curl some long pieces of parmigiano cheese around the other ingredients. Spoon some of the vinaigrette over the salad and around the plate.