Roast as­para­gus with fried duck eggs and ser­rano ham

The Observer Food Monthly - - 20 BEST BRUNCH RECIPES - José Pizarro

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

DI­REC­TIONS

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)

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