This dish is a simple yet very impressive starter that is perfect to serve at dinner parties or for an extravagant weekend brunch. The bold, punchy truffle flavour works perfectly with the rich egg yolk creating a classic flavour combination.
Heat an oven to 180C/170C fan and when hot, roast the walnuts for 7 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
Mix the artichoke and truffle pesto and olive oil together and set aside
Whilst the walnuts are roasting, place a medium pan 2/3 full of water on a high heat and bring to the boil. Snap the lower woody parts of the asparagus stems off. Depending on the thickness, asparagus can take between 2 minutes (thin) and 5 minutes (very thick) to cook, the aim being for them to be soft, but still with bite and firm to the touch. Cook accordingly then remove from the water and place in cold water to stop the cooking. Place on a baking tray.
Add the vinegar to the water and bring back to a simmer. Crack the eggs into separate ramekins. Stir the water to form a whirlpool then gently add the eggs, about 15 seconds apart. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the whites have set and the egg feels soft but springy. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a tea towel to absorb any water that runs off. Whilst the eggs are cooking place the asparagus in the oven to warm through.
To serve, season the asparagus with salt and pepper then Divide between plates. Spoon the pesto dressing on top then crush the walnuts over the top and finish with the poached egg.