sweet potato rosti with asparagus and poached eggs

it’s asparagus season and, as usual, i’m making the most of it. we’ve had some white asparagus* but it’s the green stuff that i really love and this is what i’ve been focusing on. this is a good way to sneak it into a weekend breakfast – i used it in place of the called-for avocado.

the sweet potato rosti was not the easiest thing to make – it’s quite a delicate mix so turning it over can be tricky and i was also worried about it cooking through, so decided to go with large oval shapes, that i could flatten out  quite a bit. this also had the advantage of providing enough space for two poached eggs per person.

to avoid getting too stressed out i suggest waiting until the rosti is cooked through before you start your eggs – the rosti will keep warm over a low heat, slowly getting crispier round the edges, or you can put them in a warmed oven. i think it’s also worth adding some spice to the rosti mix – garam masala, cumin or coriander would all be good, plus extra fresh herbs.

* i do plan to make this white asparagus with lardo, parmesan and toasted hazelnuts again, before the season ends.

thomasina miers' sweet potato fritters with poached egg and parsley oil serves four

500g sweet potato, peeled

½ onion, peeled

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg

3½ tbsp wholemeal or plain flour (optional – i used this and think it helped hold everything together)

¼ tsp baking powder

herbs and spices (optional - see above)

olive oil, to fry

4 fresh eggs (i used two per person)

2 ripe avocados, sliced (i used asparagus spears, cooked in the poaching water just before the eggs were added)

for the parsley oil: (i didn’t make this, just scattering the finished dish with chopped parsley)

½ small garlic clove, peeled

2 large handfuls parsley leaves, roughly chopped

a squeeze of lemon

75ml olive oil

coarsely grate the sweet potato and onion, and put in a sieve over a bowl. sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, mix gently, then leave to drain while the salt draws out any excess water.

if making the parsley oil, put the garlic, parsley and lemon in a food processor and whizz to a smooth puree. season, then stir in the oil and set aside. (alternatively, do all this with a pestle and mortar).

put the egg, half a teaspoon of salt, a little pepper, the flour, baking powder and spices, if using, in a bowl and whisk until smooth. squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the sweet potato and onion mix, then add to the bowl and combine with your hands.

add a generous amount of oil to a large frying pan so that it’s a few millimetres deep. place the pan over a medium-high flame and, when hot, divide the sweet potato mix into four and again squeeze out as much liquid as you can. shape each quarter into a tightly packed disc, then fry two at a time, pressing and flattening them with a spoon while they cook. after a minute or so, you should be able to see the edges browning, at which point turn over the fritters – do so carefully, because they are quite delicate. cook on the other side for another minute or so, until dark golden and cooked through (abby note: mine took nearer ten minutes), then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and keep warm while you poach the eggs.

meanwhile, bring a small pan of salted water to a simmer. break two eggs into two ramekins, then slide them into the middle of the pan of very gently simmering water. cook for three minutes, then scoop out, drain on kitchen paper and repeat with the other two eggs.

to serve, place a fritter on each plate, sit an egg and a few slices of avocado (or asparagus) on top, and drizzle with the parsley oil. if you fancy something a little heartier, add some grilled chorizo