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Roasted Asparagus with Fried Eggs and Parmesan

Choose the highest quality eggs you can find and cook them lightly, and their bright-orange yolks and creamy texture will stand in for sauce to gild fresh asparagus spears. Here, the vegetable is roasted at a high temperature to bring out a natural nuttiness, which is echoed by the grated Parmigiano that is sprinkled over the top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. asparagus spears
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 small chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 425°F.

Break off the tough end of each asparagus spear about 1 inch from the base. (If the spears are thick, use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from the bottom half.) Place the spears on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat well. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast until the spears are just tender when pierced with a small knife, 10 to 12 minutes.

While the asparagus is roasting, in a large nonstick fry pan over medium-low heat, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter. Break 2 of the eggs into the pan, spacing them a couple of inches apart so they do not touch. Cover the pan and cook the eggs for 2 minutes. Uncover and cook until the whites are opaque and the yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes.

Divide the asparagus among 4 warmed plates. Using a slotted spatula, carefully lift each egg and place it next to but slightly overlapping a serving of asparagus. Sprinkle the eggs lightly with salt and pepper. Immediately grate some of the cheese over the dish. Repeat with the remaining butter and eggs and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).