These little pillowy sandwiches, said to hail from Turin, make the most of spring asparagus. A homemade lemon aïoli adds flavour and helps to hold the soft white bread together at the edges. These are best eaten almost as soon as they're made.
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 16 asparagus spears (about 3 bunches), trimmed
- 8 slices soft white bread, crusts removed
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- 125 ml olive oil (½ cup)
- 125 ml extra-virgin olive oil (½ cup)
- 1For lemon aïoli, whisk yolk, mustard, garlic, lemon rind and half the juice in a bowl to combine. Combine oils and gradually add to bowl, drop by drop to begin with and then in a thin steady stream, whisking continuously until thick and emulsified. Season to taste, then add remaining lemon juice to taste. Aïoli will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- 2Cook eggs in a saucepan of boiling water until cooked with just firm yolks (8 minutes). Drain, refresh under cold running water, then peel.
- 3Blanch asparagus until bright green and just tender (1-2 minutes). Drain and refresh, then drain well. Trim asparagus so it's just a little shorter than the bread.
- 4Lay out bread slices and spread thinly with lemon aïoli right to the edges. Thickly slice eggs and place down the centre of half the bread slices, leaving a 1cm gap at the top and bottom. Arrange 2 asparagus spears each side of egg, season to taste, then sandwich with remaining bread, aïoli-side down. Press slices together at the sides, then halve diagonally and serve.