To poach the eggs bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the white wine vinegar. Reduce the heat so that the water just simmers. Have a large bowl of iced water ready to refresh the eggs. Crack the eggs into individual cups and pour them, one at a time, into the water keeping them apart from each other. Poach the eggs for 4 - 5 minutes until the whites have set and the yolks remain soft. Using a slotted spoon remove the eggs from the water and refresh in the iced water to stop the cooking process. Remove the eggs from the water and drain on a clean kitchen cloth. Take an appropriate sized pastry cutter and trim the edges of the egg to make neat, even rounds.
Place the flour, egg wash and breadcrumbs into 3 separate shallow bowls and lightly season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Lightly season the eggs with salt and freshly ground pepper. Pass the eggs through the flour, egg-wash and then the breadcrumbs. Repeat the process of the egg-wash and breadcrumbs so that there is a double layer of breadcrumbs on the egg. Refrigerate the eggs until ready to deep-fry.
Make the truffle vinaigrette: Place the Dijon mustard in a bowl and add the sherry vinegar. Whisk together and add the truffle and olive oils in a slow steady stream, whisking continuously. Season the dressing to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. If the dressing is too thick, thin with warm water.
Remove the stalk from the curly endive. Strip back and discard all the bitter, dark green outer leaves to reveal the lighter leaves of the heart. Wash these leaves in some lightly salted, cold water. Drain the leaves from the water, dry in a clean kitchen towel and place in a bowl until ready to dress.
Heat the vegetable oil to 180°C. Heat the clarified butter in a heavy-based pan large enough to hold the 16 spears of asparagus. Place the asparagus into the pan and warm through in the butter. When the asparagus is warm remove the pan from the heat and add
Lower the crumbed eggs into the oil and cook for 1-1½ minutes until they are golden. Using a slotted spoon remove the eggs from the oil and drain on a clean kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil. Lightly season the eggs with salt and freshly ground pepper. Dress the curly endive with a little of the truffle vinaigrette, add the julienne of truffle and lightly season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Place 4 asparagus spears in the centre of a warm plate. Arrange the curly endive and chervil sprigs on top of the asparagus. Place an egg on top of the salad and a slice of truffle on top of the egg. Spoon a little more truffle vinaigrette around the plate.
© 2005 Liam Tomlin. All rights reserved.