Roast Asparagus with Fried Duck Egg and Serrano Ham
This recipe belongs to Jose Pizarro, from his first book Seasonal Spanish Food. (Kyle Cathie 2009) I helped cook and style the food with Pizarro for this book. The whole team dived into this dish when we had finished shooting it, dripping yolk everywhere. Good God. Good. Yes.
It’s the easiest thing in the world but not many people do it well. In Spanish fried eggs are called huevos com puntilla – or eggs with a frilly lace hem – and gives a good clue as what you’re aiming for: crispy edges!
There are a couple of important things to remember. The first is to use a small frying pan, about four centimetres deep, which you fill to a depth of about one centimetre of oil. Then, before you add the egg to the pan, heat the oil until it just starts to smoke. Add the egg – it will splutter and sizzle deliciously – and deep fry for one or two minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the egg. Lastly, season the egg with crunchy salt.
My parents kept ducks and chickens and as a child I always went searching the ducks’ nests first for eggs to eat. They are bigger and richer tasting than chicken eggs. Of course chicken eggs make excellent substitutes in this recipe – just make sure they are free range and organic.
16 asparagus spears
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 duck eggs
olive oil for frying
160g slices Serrano ham
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Snap any woody stems off the asparagus spears before coating them in olive oil. Pouring a little into your hands and rolling them is an easy way to do this.
Lay the spears in a row on a baking tray, season them with salt and roast in the oven for eight to ten minutes. Turn them over half way 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 the manner described above.
To serve: Arrange a quarter of the ham slices on a plate and place four asparagus on top, followed by an egg. Grind some black pepper over it if you like, then drizzle a little olive oil to finish. Repeat three more times and eat immediately.