Now that spring is doing its very best to spring itself upon us, the supermarkets are full of tender young asparagus stalks and what better way to use them than in this lovely brunch dish?
Baked eggs are very adaptable and being slightly more elegant, they make a nice change from the usual poached, fried or scrambled versions that end up on our breakfast plates.
You can add fresh herbs, sliced spring onion (scallions), prosciutto, spinach or anything else you like to serve with eggs. The basic recipe remains the same.
Here, a touch of lemon zest, a few chili flakes and some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano give it a lively twist. I like to serve baked eggs with hot, crusty olive bread to mop up the sauce.
This recipe contains anchovies so isn’t suitable for vegetarians.
BAKED EGGS WITH ASPARAGUS
(Enough for two)
4 large eggs
6 oz (170g) of fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 oz (28g) of grated Parmigiano Reggiano plus some extra
1 & 3/4 oz (50ml) of crème fraîche (or heavy cream)
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon of finely shredded lemon zest
A small pinch of chili flakes
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Oil or butter two shallow gratin dishes.
Steam the asparagus until it’s just tender then rinse them under cold running water and pat dry.
Mix together the crème fraîche, chopped anchovy, grated Parmigiano and mustard. Divide this between the buttered dishes, making a small well in the center. Arrange the asparagus around the sides then crack a couple of eggs into the center of each dish. Sprinkle with lemon zest, a few chili flakes, a little more grated cheese and a grind of sea salt to taste.
Bake in the preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes until the eggs are set and serve immediately with some hot crusty bread for dunking.