Roast asparagus with fried duck eggs and serrano ham
My parents kept ducks and chickens, and as a child I was always the first to go searching the ducks’ nests for eggs to eat. Duck eggs are bigger and richer tasting than hen eggs. Of course, you can substitute hen eggs in this recipe – just make sure that they are free-range and organic. I also love this dish with romesco sauce.
SERVES 4 asparagus spears 16 olive oil 2 tbsp sea salt and pepper duck eggs 4 extra virgin olive oil for frying serrano ham 160g, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.
Snap any woody stems off the asparagus spears before coating them in the olive oil. Pouring a little into your hands and rolling them between your fingers is an easy way to do this.
Lay the spears in a row on a baking tray, season with salt and roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Turn them over halfway through cooking. How long you roast them for is dependent on the thickness of the spears, but the leafy tips should have turned a bit crispy.
While the asparagus spears are cooking, fry the duck eggs. In Spain, fried eggs are called huevos con puntilla – eggs with a frilly lace hem, or crispy edges. Use a small frying pan, about 4cm deep, and fill it to a depth of about 1cm with oil. Heat the oil until it just starts to smoke, add the egg and deep-fry for 1-2 minutes.
Arrange the ham slices on four plates, then place the asparagus spears on top, followed by a fried egg. Grind on some black pepper if you like, then drizzle over a little olive oil to finish. Eat immediately. From Pizarro: Seasonal Spanish Food by José Pizarro (Kyle Books, £15.99)