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Tyler Florence’s Asparagus Grilled Cheese with Poached Egg

Tyler Florence’s Asparagus Grilled Cheese with Poached Egg
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         I have been a fan of Tyler Florence for years.  There are no fewer than 11 of his recipes on Chewing the Fat.  His cookbook, “Tyler’s Ultimate” (Clarkson-Potter 2006) is among the most dog-eared in our collection.  When Chef Florence took off from Charleston, SC, he first came to New York and brought with him many recipes tinged with Southern accents.  In 2008, he moved to San Francisco and ever since, his cooking has taken on a decidedly West Coast edge. Candidly, when I received my copy of “Tyler Florence Fresh” ( Clarkson Potter 2012), I astonished at the makeover.          


Tyler’s Version of the Dish

Featured prominently on the book jacket was the recipe I am sharing today.  It was described as “ A simple grilled cheese sandwich … transformed in an elegant snack when enhanced with blanched asparagus”.  Well, I guess one man’s snack is another man’s supper.  Or brunch.  As most readers know, I love asparagus.  So I was very pleased to see that, this late in June, there was fresh crop of the skinny asparagus that’s perfect for this dish, at a farm stand down the road.  

         This isn’t a backbreaker, despite the length of the ingredient list and the cooking instructions.   If you’ve never made mayonnaise in a blender, you’ll discover you’re an expert the first time you try it.  And don’t leave out the truffle or truffle oil for a touch of luxury that elevates the whole dish.  If you can’t find the recommended Mt. Tam, and I couldn’t, the cheese can be any triple crème of your choosing. Slicing it may be more difficult than spreading the runny cheese over the truffled mayo.   A Panini maker is a huge help here and I am very glad I have one.  But I am sure you can accomplish this dish as you would any grilled cheese sandwich in a sauté pan over moderate to low heat. Finally, there’s the matter of the poached egg.  Use Chef Florence’s method and astonish yourself with the results: Perfect poached eggs.
          I made the whole thing in under an hour.  And I made it twice. Once with the bread squared at the corners and once leaving the crusts on.  They were both delicious but the squared corners did make for a better ‘results’ picture. One caveat: the original recipe doesn’t recommend making the mayo more than an hour in advance to preserve its truffle aroma.  Finally, Tyler made beautiful single asparagus ‘soldiers’ with squared corners and lovely rectangles.  I left mine whole and they tasted just wonderful.  Here is the recipe:

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