Friday, June 28, 2013

Asparagus with Lardons, a Fried Egg and Zen-sational Seasoning

         A few weeks ago, I told you about Pollen Ranch Spices (, a remarkable company in the picturesquely named town of Lemon Cove, California.   My initial introduction to the company was their Fennel Pollen, a key ingredient in a recipe for Porchetta that I posted on Chewing the Fat.  Here’s the link:  Along with the hand collected organic fennel pollen, came a second tin of something called “Zen-sational”.  Pollen Ranch calls it ‘your secret ingredient'.  It’s a secret I’d latch on to if I were you.  It gave this simple Asparagus dish a great new taste. And exactly what is “Zen-sational”? 
According to the label, Pollen Ranch has combined its Fennel Pollen with sumac, toasted sesame seeds, orange peel, ginger, fleur de sel, ground yellow curry, dry savory leaves and cayenne pepper.  Pollen Ranch says Zen-Sational ‘enhances vegetables, eggs and more. Great on salads.  Seasoning made simple”.  I can certainly attest to its power to give simple roasted asparagus a new dimension in flavor.  The asparagus takes on an anise flavor that takes me right back to Tuscany. 
Before I give you the very easy recipe for this light supper, brunch or lunch dish, if you want to find more way to use Fennel Pollen or Zen-sational, go to where the Fennel Friday Cooking Club meets. You’re sure to find ways to use Pollen Ranch Spices to rev up your taste buds.  Here’s the recipe:

Asparagus with Lardons, a Fried Egg and Zen-Sational Seasoning.
Serves 2. Takes under 30 minutes start to finish.

1 1-lb bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
Olive Oil
½ lb. slab bacon, cut into ½ inch dice
2 Eggs
1 tbsp. Zen-sational Seasoning

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
In a cast-iron skillet, cook the lardons over medium heat until they are crispy and brown.  Drain on paper towel.

Cover a sheet pan with a layer of aluminum foil to make clean-up easier.  Then take the trimmed asparagus and with your hands, coat it with Olive Oil.   Put the asparagus on a single layer in the sheet pan.
Sprinkle Zen-sational all over the asparagus. Put the sheet pan in the oven and roast for 12- 15 minutes.  The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the asparagus.  
Check for doneness by inserting a
Sharp paring knife into it. 
In an non-stick skillet, melt 1 tbsp. of butter.  Add eggs and fry until the whites are set and the yolk is to your liking. 
Put the asparagus on a plate, scatter the lardons over it and slide a fried egg over each serving.  Salt and Pepper each plate and serve at once.


  1. Well, I do not have Zen-sational seasoning, however, I certainly do get the point! This looks lovely for our triple digit weekend. Early suppper, and this fills the bill nicely! Thank you Monte - AND love Pollen Ranch as well, fabulous! Enjoy your weekend!

    1. I am wracking my brain trying to think of a substitute. But this is really a unique product. I can't believe the heat you are suffering through. I thought September was the hottest month in CA. I once went to a wedding in Pasadena the first weekend of September and it was 106! Happy Weekend!

  2. OMgosh, just had this for breakfast! I used Herbes de Provence. Off to a great start! Tx Monte!

    1. So glad you enjoyed it Ana! Have a cool weekend. MM

  3. This looks delicious. I just got my Zen-Sational from Pollen Ranch and it smells amazing. I also go the Herbes de Provence. I will be making this today for a light snack and then a chicken with the Herbes de Provence. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I do hope you like it! Zen-Sational is something no kitchen should be without.