Rob Evans created this dish using the eggs of young chickens, wild fiddlehead ferns, and dulse – wild algae that “adds a nice brininess and really speaks of place. It also adds depth and an umami element.” Umami refers to the Asian concept of a fifth sense, ingredients that draw out the flavor or “deliciousness” of other ingredients.
1. Using a vegetable peeler, make ribbons from 6 asparagus spears. Blanch the remaining spears in salted water, then place in ice water. Strain and dry on paper towels. Repeat with asparagus ribbons. Set aside.
2. Lay an 8-by-8-inch sheet of plastic wrap on a flat surface and brush with melted butter. Crack one egg in the center. Pull up all four corners to form a pouch. Grasp plastic wrap close to egg to remove the air; twist the plastic tight. Tie in a knot with the plastic as close to the egg as possible, creating an airtight pouch. Trim excess wrap at the top of the knot. Repeat with remaining eggs.
3. In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer eggs (in pouches) for 8 minutes. Remove eggs and let stand, warm, until ready to use.
4. Unwrap two poached eggs and place in blender or food processor. Add Dijon mustard, sugar, and 3 tablespoons Dulse Vinegar. Blend until smooth. Slowly add 1 cup olive oil until completely blended and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in dulse flakes. Cover and chill.
5. Heat 3 inches canola oil in a large cast-iron frypan or deep-fat fryer to 350°.
6. In a medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch, baking powder, and flour. Pour half of dry ingredients into a second bowl. Whisk enough soda water into one bowl of dry mixture to form a pancake-batter consistency. Let sit 5 minutes.
7. Remove fiddleheads from pickling liquid. Add to dry mixture and toss gently but thoroughly to coat. Gently shake excess dry mixture from fiddleheads; then place in batter to coat. Gently shake off excess and place in hot oil; fry until golden. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towels.
8. In a large bowl, combine asparagus spears and ribbons, lemon juice, and remaining olive oil. Divide and arrange asparagus onto 6 serving plates. Remove eggs from plastic and place one on top of each asparagus serving. Place 4 fried fiddleheads around asparagus. Spoon a dollop of chilled dulse “sabayon” over each egg. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chervil sprigs.
In a small saucepan, bring vinegar to a simmer; don’t boil it. Place dulse in a small bowl and pour hot vinegar over it. Let cool to room temperature; then cover and refrigerate overnight. Strain and discard dulse.
In a medium saucepan over high heat, boil 2 cups water, vinegar, coriander, allspice, red-pepper flakes, cinnamon stick, and sugar. Chill and strain. Discard solids. Wipe pan clean and bring 3 cups salted water to boil. Blanch fiddleheads until tender, about 5 minutes. Strain and add to pickling liquid while still hot. Cover and chill overnight.
Adapted from Hugo’s recipe