Bread Tartlet with Egg and Asparagus

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All the asparagus fans will probably agree that a rare magic operates when an egg gets in contact with delicious green spears. Therefore, the successful outcome of this small experiment was neither a feat nor a surprise, but I was glad to learn another way to serve asparagus and to discover another  perfect spring brunch: it is easy, quick, amusing and features the star of the season’s vegetables.

I love individual dishes, desserts and snacks, but bread tartlets are special also because they are one of the reasons why I appreciate soft, sliced toast bread (also called “sandwich bread”, but it is not my idea of a good sandwich…). I remember I saw this bread for the first time maybe only as a teenager. It appeared sliced, packed in plastic, had a suspiciously long life and was sold only in supermarkets, so I have always associated it with convenience – or even fast – food. Then, I slowly started to prefer it in certain snacks or dishes, such as bread tartlets, which for me give this super-soft bread a real raison d’être: no other bread I know is flexible enough to be easily rolled out, flattened and then shaped into an edible container. You can experiment with other types of bread of course, but it must be soft, dense (not with big wholes, like baguette for example) and elastic enough to be folded.

Until last week I had always prepared bread tartlets with ham and egg, the version I found years ago in “Si simple, si bon!” (So good, so simple) by Josée di Stasio. It was so simple and so good (the pun was unintended!), I have never felt the need to modify it. Now that I dared changing it, I somehow feel that this asparagus twist (which I have also tested with ham) announces a long list of experiments with other seasonal vegetables. (I actually already have several in mind…).

Josée di Stasio calls this tartlet a “ramekin”, but I thought the word “tartlet” was more appropriate (I think it could also be called a “bread basket”). She also recommends baking the tartlets in muffin moulds, but I usually prefer individual baking dishes (ramekins) which are wider, higher and make bigger baskets. Retrieving the tartlets from the ramekins may be delicate, but somehow even such a clumsy person like me has always succeeded, helping myself with a knife and then a spoon.

Here are some other suggestions for asparagus lovers:

Tama Konnyaku with Asparagus

Tama Konnyaku with Asparagus

Chawan Mushi (Egg Custard) with Asparagus

Chawan Mushi (Egg Custard) with Asparagus

Asparagus with Chicken and Miso

Asparagus with Chicken and Miso

Asparagus Tempura

Asparagus Tempura

Asparagus Teriyaki Pork Rolls

Asparagus Teriyaki Pork Rolls

Asparagus with Cashew Nuts and Chicken

Asparagus with Cashew Nuts and Chicken

 

Asparagus Maki Sushi

Asparagus Maki Sushi

TIP: If you don’t like crunchy asparagus, you can blanch it before making these tartlets. (I prefer it crunchy, so I never do this).

Special equipment: muffin moulds or individual round baking ramekins with approx. 8 cm/about 3 in diameter (if the bread slices are 10×10 cm/about 4×4 in, but if they are bigger, take bigger ramekins)

Preparation: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients (for one bread tartlet):

1 slice toast/sandwich bread

2 medium thick green asparagus spears (mine were about 1cm thick in the middle/a bit less than 1/2 in)

1 egg

butter

salt, pepper

(mustard)

(one or more ham slices)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Roll out the bread thinly with a rolling pin.

Cut off the crust (it burns easily).

Spread butter on one side of the slice.

Butter the ramekin or the muffin mould.

Line the ramekin with the flattened slice (buttered side down) so that it forms a basket.

(Put some mustard at the bottom if you like to spice up the dish.)

(If you wish to add ham, line now the bread “basket” with a slice or slices of ham).

Cut off the hard bottom part of the asparagus spears (I usually cut off about 1/3).

Cut the rest into bite-sized pieces and place at the bottom of the bread tartlet, keeping one tip (you will put it on top after the egg for decoration).

Break one egg into the tartlet.

Place delicately the asparagus tip on top.

Put the tartlet into the oven and bake until the egg white is set (this depends to your preference: I prefer the runny yolk but the white must be completely set).

Take out of the baked tartlets (separating from the walls with a knife and then scooping out with a spoon should do the trick), season with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a green salad.

50 thoughts on “Bread Tartlet with Egg and Asparagus

  1. Hiroyuki

    So, you mean you actually like toast/sandwich bread? From our conversation elsewhere, I had assumed that you hated it…
    I wonder what the green vegetable is. It looks like mizuna or something.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi Hiroyuki, it was actually our conversation that has reminded me to make these bread tartlets 😉 Visits to your blog are so inspiring 🙂
      I don’t hate it. I was just saying that I consider it not as “real”, bread. When I think “I need to buy bread”, toast bread never comes to my mind… When I want a sandwich, it’s a baguette sandwich, not toast bread, etc.. I do however appreciate it for certain dishes, like this one. I of course like it as a toast too. In short, it has its qualities too 😉
      The vegetable is a kind of salad, called “frisée” in France. I like it a lot because it’s slightly bitter but also sweet and it is crunchy because of the funny shaggy leaves.

      1. Charles

        Bleurgh, “baguette” sandwiches… I can’t stand them. You sometimes feel like you’ll break your teeth just taking a bite, and then you have to pull and rip the bite away… It shouldn’t be so hard! I don’t really like this “plastic-esque” toast bread, but you can make a beautiful sandwich with a nice farmhouse loaf! Oh, another reason I hate baguette sandwiches… the pressure from biting down forces all the filling to the end, or out the other side of the sandwich, so you have ham, cheese, pickles, sauce, whatever dropping out all the time! I tell you, when I’m king of the world, the first thing I’ll ban is the creation of sandwiches with baguettes!

        1. Sissi Post author

          Charles, luckily there are millions of French who don’t share your view. I love fresh baguette sandwich (and just about everyone I know…).

  2. Helene D'souza

    A refreshing brunch idea your tartlets Sissi. As you said it, a more appropriate name should be baskets, which by the way makes the dish sound even more exciting. We used to only get slice bread to make paninis in my childhood, otherwise its white bread or black bread. I had realized a while back too that they come quite handy when used in a creative way. Again I wished I could get asparagus here ( I think so I cry about the same every year in goa) and I wouldn’t mind making your tarlets now. 🙂

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thanks a lot, Helene. I’m sorry you don’t have asparagus there… on the other hand, I envy you so many other amazing vegetables and fruits I can only dream of!

  3. Jeno @ Weeknite Meals

    Sissi, I’ve never thought about using sandwich bread this way! How interesting. I’ve attempted to created individual portion breakfast tart with buscuit you buy in a can, though they are almost impossible to take out of the baking dish, plus I just don’t prefer the texture as well as white bread. This is a must try!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Jeno. This bread is quite easy to work with (provided you butter both the baking tin and one side of the bread).

  4. Dedy@Dentist Chef

    Beautifull breakfast supper, like a fancy hotel menu…hehehe
    Never try making a tartley with bread before, i used to made it with round bacon and salami,
    Thx for sharing such a great idea !

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Dedy. Thank you so much for your kind compliments! You do exaggerate though 😉 Welcome to my blog!

  5. wok with ray

    Just like you, I prefer crunchy asparagus so I just stir fry it. Love the look of the slightly cooked egg whites and runny yolks. Really delectable, Sissi! 🙂

  6. Eva Taylor

    It will not be a surprise to you but I cannot stand the supermarket white loaf — I once had it in a sandwich, not toasted and it stuck to my teeth like it was some kind of glue. Your egg looks perfectly cooked Sissi, and although the bread scares me a bit, I love this recipe and may have to bite the bullet and try it out, after all our tastes seem similar. I see that you do suggest to try other breads, I have a german rye that has various seeds that may work and add the lovely nutty flavour and texture to the dish. I think I might try rolling the bread thinner to make it more flexible in that case. Now you’ve got me thinking but we’re about to go on a short holiday tomorrow so it will have to wait until we return.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Eva. I don’t like it in sandwiches either, but here nothing else works here from every other bread I buy and frankly its sweetish taste and softness is more than welcome. It depends on the brand of course, I suppose. Do try with other bread types! I’m very curious if it will work… (I did it also several times with wholemeal toast bread). Have a lovely holiday!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Hester. Thank you so much for the compliments! I also use toast bread in savoury toasts with melted cheese and it is perfect with these too. I must check what chip butties are. They sound very intriguing! Thank you for your visit.

  7. A_Boleyn

    Eggs and asparagus … a perfect combination. I’m doing an asparagus, shrimp and crab quiche tonight so I loved the coincidence.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, A_Boleyn. It seems we are all going crazy for asparagus. On the other hand its presence is so brief… Your quiche sounds great.

  8. Kiki

    Those tarlets are looking pretty and flawless as always. Must remember to prepare some for sunday morning. Actually according the discussion about sandwich bread: home baked sandwich bread aka Toastbrot tastes a lot better than the store bought. The store bought has some annoying sour aftertaste, must be due to some preserving agent. At the moment I like to eat roasted sandwich bread with goat cheese and bramble jam – don’t tell…

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Kiki. I actually thought it looked funny, but far from flawless 😉 It’s a great Sunday breakfast, you are right. I have never baked sandwich bread at home, but I bet it tastes better of course. Goat cheese and bramble jam sound excellent. I have never had goat cheese with anything sweet actually.

  9. Mr. Three-Cookies

    I have yet to try this bread basket innovation, thanks for the reminder. I would make bacon and eggs first – to emulate bacon and egg pie. But I think by the time I make it, asparagus season will be over:)

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Mr. Three-Cookies. It’s a funnier option than just fried egg, blanched asparagus and bread… Asparagus is of course not obligatory. The egg is the star here. I hope you will like it.

  10. The Squishy Monster

    That is just too cute! I love 1-2 biters (makes me feel less guilty when gorging on about a dozen, lol). Love how you paired it with straightforward, classic, and delicious ingredients!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thanks a lot, Squishy Monster. I also love small snack-like food even for main courses.

  11. Katerina

    Can you believe that until recently I didn’t eat asparagus because I didn’t like their looks? Stupid ha! But it is true. One day i decided I had to put aside my childish notion for them and I made them roasted. It was a revelation! I am sure these tartlets are delicious and I would definitely love to try them!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Katerina. It’s funny because I have always thought the green ones (and dark violet!) look really cute, but I can believe that white ones don’t look very attractive…

  12. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    It’s so cool that you used a slice of bread for this! I was certain that it was some form of dough – phyllo perhaps. I adore the simplicity of this Sissi! :). And talk about goodness! You’ve packed you’re little cup with a dose full of spring delicious! So pretty too. I suppose you could vary up the bread any way you choose — I might try a dark rye. Yum, yum! Coming up to the lunch hour here and I’m licking my chops just thinking about this ;-).

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Kelly. Yes, you can use any bread in theory, but in practice sandwich soft bread was the only one elastic enough not to break into pieces here… Maybe I haven’t tried enough varieties? I don’t mind eating the vilified white bread from time to time. Everything in moderation and some things even more moderated…

  13. mjskit

    I have some stale bread that just found a purpose! I don’t have asparagus, but I have tons of spinach, so I will definitely be making this for breakfast tomorrow! What a great idea and so simple. Bobby and I love eggs fixed every which way so I know this will become a favorite. Thanks Darlin! If I hadn’t just eaten, I’d be making this right now! Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, MJ. I will be thrilled to learn if you liked it! Have a lovely weekend!

      1. mjskit

        Actually I made it for breakfast this morning and we both THOROUGHLY ENJOYED IT! What a great way to use up some stale bread! I’ll be making this again MANY times! I see lots of possibilities. 🙂 Hope you’re having a great weekend Sissi!

        1. Sissi Post author

          Thank you so much, MJ, for this kind message! I’m thrilled to learn you have enjoyed it. You have made my Sunday 🙂

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Zsuzsa. I don’t know much about Eastern European cuisine, but I have seen this dish for the first time in a Canadian cookery book (the one I cite above).

  14. Maria @ Box of Stolen Socks

    Hi Sissi! I’m gonna let you in on a little secret! I lost a tooth – filling once eating sandwich bread… the kind you described; the kind you find in packages in the supermarket, with shelf life which could actually outlive us all! It was a few years back when we lived in Saudi and the bread was so elastic and sticky it just sucked the filling right out of my tooth! It was so embarrassing because you are supposed to have problems like these with hard to chew foods not fluffy, elastic bread! Since then I stay away from the bread isle in the supermarket. Having shared all these completely uninteresting and useless information I am going to finish by saying that this recipe is simple genius and I might give it a go firstly because I love asparagus and secondly because the bread is going to be baked again hence not so elastic!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi Maria, according to many dentists chewy and sticky food is the worst for fillings (hard food might break your teeth though…) but I am still surprised! It must have been really super chewy! The bread I buy is not as chewy or sticky but it is a bit elastic… I’m glad you like the idea. You can try it, but it won’t work with every type of bread, so you might have to experiment a bit. Good luck!

  15. Amy Tong

    This is such a cute package with the perfect ingredients for a wonderful brunch! I agree, the egg and asparagus go hand in hand. Glad to learn this new way to serve up the two with this pretty presentation. Thank you so much for sharing.

  16. Charles

    “If you don’t like crunchy asparagus, you can blanch it before making these tartlets. (I prefer it crunchy, so I never do this).”

    Oh, this x100! I can’t believe some people dislike crunchy asparagus. It’s why I never buy it out of season. If you buy it in a can or jar it’s revolting. Over-cooked to the point of being “asparagus mush”. Not good at all.

    Sissi, I love this delightful little dish. It’s given me a great idea on a way of re-making a dish I did last year (chutney, baked with an egg on top in a little cocotte, served with bread). It looks so beautiful, and I’m glad you kept the points of the bread corners there. I guess some people might have been tempted to cut them off and make a smooth “cylinder” but it looks much better this way.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thanks a lot, Charles. I have already worked hard to roll out and shape the bread, so cutting off the edges would be too much for a lazy cook…

  17. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    So cute. Before I started blogging, or more like before I started to visit other blogs to see different recipes, I never knew there is a way to eat egg like this! This is actually something I’ve been meaning to try but breakfast is always tough as kids are awake before me and they can’t wait till I cook something. I might serve this as lunch instead! Looks yummy!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thanks a lot, Nami. I actually never have it for breakfast (apart from Sunday but it’s rather a brunch…) because I am never hungry enough or woken up enough to prepare it 😉 Lunch is the best option, but a light dinner too…

  18. Helena

    Quelle bonne découverte, je ne connaissais pas du tout ces tartelettes à base de pain ! Mais je crois que je vais tester ça très vite 🙂 Merci pour le partage !

    1. Sissi Post author

      Merci beaucoup, Helena. J’espère que tu aimeras ces tartelettes amusantes.

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