Soft-boiled Duck Egg with Asparagus Soldiers

Asparagus and Duck Egg

At long last British asparagus is finally here to be devoured. Yesterday St George’s Day marked the official start of the season, which runs through May and June, and today I had my first, long-awaited taste. The asparagus I had came from Herefordshire in England, and it was absolutely delicious; sweet, juicy and fresh. I teamed it with a boiled duck egg with a soft, creamy yolk to dip the asparagus into and ate it in the sunshine in my garden. What a treat!

To make this really easy dish all you need to do is bring a pan of water to the boil, add the duck egg and boil it for 6 minutes for a soft, creamy yolk. You should really use a separate pan for the asparagus, again bringing the water up to the boil then adding the asparagus once you’ve trimmed the woody ends, then boiling it for about 3 minutes. Remove the asparagus from the pan, cut the top off the egg, add a little sea salt and voilà – a sublime lunch for one.

Asparagus and Duck Egg 1

Asparagus and Duck Egg 3

For more on asparagus take a look at the new UK Food Bloggers Association site – I got my inspiration for today’s lunch from one of the members.



  1. Kavey
    April 24, 2009 / 9:12 pm

    Mmm, some of life’s best pleasures are the simplest!
    I love asparagus and duck eggs!

  2. s. stockwell
    April 24, 2009 / 10:51 pm

    Hello from Santa Barbara. Here, in California, our markets do not regularly have duck eggs? We need to check a local ranch? Gorgeous asparagus spears! Interesting post. Best, s

  3. Julia
    April 25, 2009 / 8:06 am

    I totally agree Kavey. One of my guiding principles is buy good ingredients and cook them simply.

  4. realfoodlover
    April 25, 2009 / 8:36 am

    I love your pic taken in the spring sunshine.

    Guy Watson says in the Riverford Farm Cook Book that the asparagus season starts 1 May – but starting on St George’s Day sounds right (and memorable too!)

    Please do visit my take on asparagus!

    April 25, 2009 / 9:06 am

    what a result
    middle picture is my favourite
    with the yolk almost spilling over
    simple is good
    very good

  6. Julia
    April 25, 2009 / 9:09 am

    Hello S. Stockwell! Duck eggs can be hard to find here as well, which is a shame as they’re so delicious. I got mine from London’s Borough Market, but some of the supermarkets are stocking them now which is good.

    Hi RealFoodLover – I think it is really about 1st May, but the marketing people probably thought St George’s Day would be a good fit this year 😉

    Eat Pictures – thanks again for the inspiration!

  7. petoskystone
    April 25, 2009 / 12:25 pm

    thanks for the asparagus prep list! i usually roast the soldiers as i had trouble with timing the water bath! but soft-cooked eggs–still working on my aversion to sushi-chicken 🙁

  8. recipes2share
    April 25, 2009 / 6:33 pm

    delicious & fab photo's Julia!

  9. Juliette
    April 25, 2009 / 6:49 pm

    That looks so lovely! Must check out the market for some asparagus.

  10. Hornsfan
    April 26, 2009 / 12:49 pm

    Beautiful photo of a tasty looking lunch!

  11. Jeff
    April 26, 2009 / 5:45 pm

    I was just in my garden taking some pics of some of the asparagus that is started to come up. Of course I had to take a quick sample of some of them. Oh so good and can’t wait for them to be fully ready.

    I love dunking them in soft boiled eggs too. Never had duck eggs and I don’t know if I could really find them around here. Is there a distinct difference between them and good chicken eggs?

  12. BeadBag
    April 26, 2009 / 5:58 pm

    I could eat that right now!
    Kindest regards,
    Shirley I.

  13. Alexx
    April 26, 2009 / 9:02 pm

    I just love asparagus and had my first of the year today. Lovely pictures as always!

  14. applecrumbles
    April 27, 2009 / 12:06 am

    Two of my favorites..asparagus and eggs. Never had a duck egg though, only the standard, barn yard chicken. Looks great.

  15. Julia
    May 3, 2009 / 8:57 pm

    Hi Jeff – duck eggs have larger yolks and they’re richer than duck eggs. I love them.

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

  16. susan
    May 9, 2009 / 4:57 pm

    Hey … perfect – I might do it with my my crazily overpriced asparagus from borough today. Nice pic btw.

  17. Claudia
    February 1, 2010 / 8:46 am

    Your asparagus reminds me of a dish H. Fearnley-Whittingstall created in one his shows. The twist was to serve the egg with some drops of cider vinegar and a knob of butter in the liquid egg yolk. With the asparagus solidiers you simply mix your own sauce hollandaise in the egg.

  18. June 15, 2010 / 3:53 am

    nice photo….nice egg….nice asparagus……

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