Cookery Maven Blog

Wisconsin's Northernmost Sugarbush

There are all sorts of things I've learned since I moved North— don't call the cops when a bear is in the yard, there is no such thing as a perfectly ripe avocado in the grocery stores, saunas are clothing optional and maple syrup really does come from actual maple trees. Okay, I did know about the origins of maple syrup but I hadn't ever actually witnessed the process. 

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Phyllis's Eggs & Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus Salad

Dana and Kathy have a sassy and very spunky duck named Phyllis— a quacking force to be reckoned with. I'm pretty sure she has a touch of PTSD because a bobcat filled his belly with her fellow duck companions last year and as the lone survivor, the quacking is her way of letting that bobcat know she's still standing. She celebrates everyday with a chorus of quack, quack, quacking and now that she has three new duck pals to boss around, she's happy (and laying eggs).

When Kathy came over for dinner and handed me a container full of duck eggs, I was so happy and thankful Phyllis out-foxed the bobcat. Duck eggs have the most lovely, rick yolk and that means two things: poached eggs or hollandaise sauce. Since I had a quart of Julie and Charly's maple syrup and a package of prosciutto in the fridge, I settled on a salad topped with a poached egg and prosciutto wrapped asparagus bundles with a maple bacon vinaigrette. I've always loved that old school spinach salad with a hard-boiled egg and warm bacon dressing and this version was an homage to that salty and egg-y salad.

I've mentioned these egg poaching cups (link here) before but they have changed my life— I'm guaranteed a beautifully runny yolk every time (which definitely was not the case when I was trying to poach them the old-fashioned way).

Poached Duck Egg on a Salad with Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus Bundles & a Maple Bacon Vinaigrette

Salad Dressing
5 strips bacon, chopped
3 tbsp real maple syrup
5 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp honey
4 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp shallot, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Salad Ingredients
1 large bunch of asparagus, washed and trimmed
5 - 7 pieces of prosciutto (depending on how many bundles you end up with)
12 ounces spinach or lettuce
4 duck eggs, poached
1 Vidalia onion, sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put bacon in a medium skillet and cook over medium heat. Cook until bacon is golden brown and remove pan from heat. Transfer bacon to a paper towel, reserving bacon drippings. Reserve 4 tbsp of drippings in the pan. Whisk maple syrup, vinegar, shallot and honey into the drippings. Return the pan to medium heat, bring vinaigrette to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Whisk in mustard and olive oil until incorporated and then stir in bacon pieces. Transfer dressing to a bowl and set aside.

Place 2 tbsp of oil in a large sauté pan and add the sliced onions. Cook over medium heat until the onions are golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap one piece of prosciutto around 3 - 5 pieces of asparagus and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment. Drizzle the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil over the bundles, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in oven. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until the prosciutto is crisp and the asparagus is softened. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Divide the salad greens between four plates, place the onions, asparagus bundles and poached eggs on top. Spoon the warm bacon vinaigrette over the top and serve immediately.

Divide the salad greens between four plates, place the onions, asparagus bundles and poached eggs on top. Spoon the warm bacon vinaigrette over the top and serve immediately.