Remove any visible fat from the chicken breasts and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat the oil and the pealed garlic clove in a large skillet (with lid) over medium-high heat and fry for a minute to flavour the oil. Add the chicken to the pan and brown for about 3 minutes on each side. In the meantime, chop the shallots finely and add them to the chicken, reduce the heat slightly, and fry the shallots for 2 – 3 minutes until they soften. Pour the Cognac/brandy over the chicken, stand back and ignite. As soon as the flames subside add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes over low heat. While the chicken is cooking, wash the asparagus and cut off the base leaving about 12-14 cm (5 in). Remove the garlic clove, add the asparagus and a small amount of water if too much liquid has evaporated. Cover and cook for 5 – 7 minutes until the asparagus is just tender. Turn the chicken breasts a couple of times to coat with the sauce before arranging chicken and asparagus on a heated serving plate, keep warm. Stir in the yogurt/crème fraîche and warm through without letting the sauce boil. Season and pour sauce over the chicken.
Asparagus is now at the peak of its season, bright green, firm and tender, unlike the rubbery, shrivelled specimens sold at Christmas looking jet-lagged after the long flight from a distant part of the world. It is a wonderful vegetable which is low in calories and contains large amounts of fiber, making it a perfect ingredient in weight loss diets as it leaves you feeling full between meals, as fibers are digested slowly. It is a very good source of vitamins A, C, E, K, and folate. It also contains high levels of chromium and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.