rustic shiitake and asparagus tartine

browned shiitake and asparagus tartine

Something about the spring makes me think of brunch.  I think it’s the sudden renewal and excitement of energy I get when I see 45 degrees and sunny weather.  It’s just calling to me to go into the city, get to a trendy and over priced boutique restaurant, and get plastered with mimosas and bloody marys.  All whilst enjoying a nice plate of something so delicious that it transcends just breakfast or only lunch.  But, no, it’s hearty and it’s called brunch!  Those clever linguistic geniuses.  And yes, I am aware that my high school English tutor is now following me on this blog.  Which means she is choking on her tea in dismay of how uncouth my writing has become or she is hiding her head in shame at the many errors that continue to exist in my writing due to lack of spending some extra time to proof read.  But hello Erika.  Now, back to the joy I call brunch.

I’ve never been a big fan of breakfast foods.  They’re usually too greasy, heavy, and American for me.  I’m not going to lie though.  A nice big plate of eggs, home fries, toast, bacon, and corned beef hash does serve its benefits and I bow down to it often.  Especially after bowing down to my toilet some mornings.  But usually I don’t crave it.  However, somehow brunch always makes things more exciting for me.  I think I have ingrained in my head that breakfast can only be what you get at the diner, Coco’s, or IHOP.  But I’m trying to grow from that.  Plus, I think brunch is just more fun to say and it makes me think of the warm days and, as you know, another thing that makes me excited and think of warm days is also going to the farmers market.  Everything in this dish, in fact, came from the Union Square market.

A great time to go to the market is in the “in between” time of the season.  You get all the late bloomers of the last season mixed in with the early bloomers of the new season.  Sometimes it’s exciting to see what comes out of it.  This time we had some shiitake (who knew it was two “i”)  mushrooms that where cultivated from someone’s farm upstate, some early asparagus grown in a green house, and tomatoes from a hot house.  Add some shallots, butter, and eggs from another vendor.  Then a sourdough baguette from the baker and I have my components for my breakfast.  I love it!

This dish is perfect for two in the morning…if you know what I mean.  You can easily make all the components in advance; bring it to room temperature and fry an egg on top.  Out and back in bed in like 15 minutes.


8 asparagus spears

4 thick slices of crusty bread

1 cup of fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed

¼ cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered

4 fresh eggs (optional)

¼ cup shallots, minced

1 tbs garlic, grated or minced

2½ tbs olive oil

4 tsp salt

5 tsp black pepper, ground

1 tbs butter


preheat oven to 415˚f

toss asparagus with 1/2 tsp salt,  1 tbs oil, 1 tsp pepper, and garlic

roast for about 10 minutes until charred and tender, and remove

caramelize shallots in butter and 1 tbs of oil in a wide pan on medium high heat

brown shiitake mushrooms in the pan, making sure not to crowd the pan to allow space for the mushrooms to get a nice color

season with 1 tsp salt and pepper and remove mushrooms, reserving oil and shallots in pan

toss tomatoes in pan to fully cook and warm throughout

toast slices of bread in toaster oven or broil until brown and drizzle with ½ tbs olive oil

fry egg in the same pan used for the mushrooms and tomatoes, can skip if for vegan

compose sandwich with a layer of mushroom, asparagus, egg, and top with tomatoes and sprinkle of salt and pepper.

-serves 2-


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