There’s something deeply satisfying about learning to love a new food, like you’ve leveled up in a game and you’ve opened a whole new world of games to play. For years I’ve tried to like asparagus, but I never could figure out a way that I could find it palatable–roasting the asparagus didn’t seem to work for me, at least not in a traditional oven, and there’s no way I would boil or steam them because I’m not really fond of most vegetables prepared in those methods all that much. (There are exceptions, of course, but for me, roasted vegetables tend to be my favorite way to eat them outside of a good salad.) A friend prepared them for us as part of a great dinner spread where he put them on his smoker and got them lightly charred and a little dried out, and I really enjoyed them. I had the thought that the air fryer would have the same effect, and lo and behold, I was right.
Ever since this revelation I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate asparagus into more meals, and one of the most seamless of applications is using air fried asparagus in this simple dish from the Momofuku cookbook that I’ve since adapted. The original recipe calls for the asparagus to be browned in butter, so it isn’t all that different here to throw the stalks in the air fryer.
The other key component to this recipe is the miso butter, which essentially tastes like very, very savory fudge and it’s absolutely delicious. Chang warms it and adds some sherry vinegar to it to make a viscous spread, but I prefer drizzling sherry vinegar over top of the butter and the asparagus when plating to get that acidic bite. When you break open the egg and mix it with the butter and the sherry vinegar and the asparagus it creates a wonderful mess of flavor.
It’s a pretty wonderful way to celebrate the start of spring, even if as I write this the weather is unseasonably cold and I can’t bring myself to take off the flannel sheets just yet.
Air fryer asparagus with miso butter and a slow-poached egg
Adapted from Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan
Serves 2 as an appetizer (with extra miso butter that can be frozen and saved)
- ½ cup shiro (white) miso at room temperature
- 5 TB good quality butter (I prefer Kerrygold), at room temperature
- ½ lb asparagus stalks, woody ends trimmed and bottom stems peeled
- Nonstick spray (olive oil preferred)
- Kosher salt
- 1 tsp sherry vinegar, divided
- 2 slow-poached eggs (recipe to follow) or traditional poached eggs if you prefer
- Freshly ground black pepper
Special equipment: air fryer (convection toaster oven)
To make the miso butter, combine the miso and butter in a bowl and stir well to combine. Wrap well in cling and let it chill. Extra miso butter can be frozen for future use. Before using the butter in this dish, let it sit on the counter to allow the butter to be more easily spread.
To make the asparagus, spray an air fryer tray well with nonstick spray, and then add the asparagus and spray them well with non-stick spray. Season the asparagus with salt and pepper, and roast at 350 degrees for about 7-8 minutes or until the tops are crispy.
To plate the asparagus, place about a tablespoon of the miso butter on the middle of the plate and spread it thin. Drizzle the sherry vinegar (½ teaspoon each) on top of each plate with the butter, and then divide the asparagus between the two plates and finish with the slow-poached egg. Top the egg with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.
- As many eggs as you want to cook
- Container of water deep enough to accommodate an immersion circulator
- Immersion circulator
Set the immersion circulator to 142.5 degrees Fahrenheit or 63.5 degrees Celsius. When the water bath comes to temperature, carefully lower the eggs and cook them for 45 minutes. Carefully extract them, and then using a small saucer, break each egg individually onto it and brush away any loose egg white into the sink.