Well, okay, you don’t have to reserve this for Sundays because a messy Sunday night supper can be enjoyed any night of the week. You just have to be in the mood for it. And for this one, you need some decent plumpish asparagus, not ratty skinny jobs, and free-range eggs. Whether you opt for flakes of parmesan and hot buttered grainy toast as well, is up to you. Me being me (funny that), and having a penchant for parmesan, and liking both eggs and asparagus, and having any even bigger liking for hot buttered toast than is good for me, well, I go the whole hog.
There are things to look for though, if you want to achieve egg/asparagus perfection. As mentioned, you want plump asparagus, and they need to be cooked until bendy. Skinny ones are too miserable and pick up too much egg yolk with each dunk, and your little ritual would be over all too quickly. If they are too rigid you can’t stick them in and squelch them about as you can with bendy ones. Skinny ones, even when cooked to the right degree of bend, tend to fall apart, too.
Trim your asparagus with a sharp knife, and you can leave the hard ends on if you like so you’ve got something to hold onto as you dip the spears into the egg yolk. Cook them in gently boiling salted water for just a few minutes. If the spears are really long, cook them in a frying pan (skillet). Drain, mop dry and away you go.
You need to have the eggs at the ready, and toast if you are having it. I always think that how you like your eggs is a very personal matter. I like the white just set, still wobbly, and the yolk runny. I use free-range eggs, medium size, and bring them to room temperature. I lower them carefully into a saucepan of gently bubbling water on a slotted spoon and cook for 4 minutes. They may take 5. Remove eggs from the water and put them in egg cups, then cut into one (I usually have two eggs!). If the egg white is oobey-goobey-ish (yuk!), put the top of the egg back in place and leave it there for a few minutes more until the heat of the egg cooks the egg white through.
Once the eggs are ready, make your toast and cook the asparagus (have the water bubbling, at the ready). The eggs will hold like this for several minutes. If they appear to be firming too much, take the tops off and let them cool. Practice makes perfect, so don’t be cross if you don’t get it perfect the first time.
I like to serve everything in a big sort of appetizing mess, eggs in cups, asparagus at the ready, flaky sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, parmesan and hot buttered toast, and just mix it up as I go along.