This works great as a stand-alone recipe, but also as a component in Jamie’s Sunny Gathering from Together – see the full collection of menus here.
GET AHEAD Roughly chop the green part of the spring onions and place in a blender with the mustard, vinegar and 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Tear in three-quarters of the parsley leaves, add a swig of water and blitz until smooth. Season to perfection, tasting and tweaking, then cover. Pick the remaining parsley leaves into a bowl, then trim, finely slice and add the whites of the spring onions, and cover with water. Refrigerate both overnight.
ON THE DAY Put a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Finely slice the bacon, chop the bread into 1cm chunks, and place it all in the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a good pinch of black pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp, tossing regularly. Keep in the pan, ready to reheat. Divide the dressing between a large serving bowl and a smaller bowl, ready for drizzling. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus, then cook in a large pan of boiling water for 3 minutes, or until just tender. Use tongs to transfer the asparagus straight into the larger bowl of dressing, tossing to coat. Gently lower the eggs into the boiling water with a pinch of sea salt to cook for 6 minutes, then drain, cool under cold running water, and peel.
TO SERVE Heat up the croutons. Halve the eggs and dot among the asparagus. Drain the parsley and spring onion garnish, pat dry, then scatter over the top, and take everything to the table – the asparagus will be delicious hot, warm or cold. I enjoy this starter with a glass of quality cold sparkling cider.
VEGGIE LOVE: When frying the croutons, swap the bacon for a pinch of smoked paprika.