Resting a fried egg with a still-runny yolk on top of any roasted or sauteed vegetable is a perfect recipe. The soft, thick yolk flows easily over the vegetable, becoming a simple, luscious sauce. Asparagus is a great choice in springtime, but if it hasn’t come to your market yet, try sauteed broccoli, cabbage or kale instead.
Fried Eggs with Asparagus, Pancetta & Bread Crumbs
16 asparagus spears, tough ends removed
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tbs. butter
2 thin slices pancetta, finely chopped
1 cup (2 oz./60 g.) bread crumbs
4 large eggs
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Spread the asparagus spears in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn the spears several times to coat them evenly with the oil. Roast, turning once or twice, until the spears are tender-crisp and their color has darkened slightly, about 15 minutes; the timing will depend on the thickness of the spears. Cover loosely with foil and set aside.
In a small frying pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. When it foams, add the pancetta and cook, stirring, just until it darkens slightly, about 1 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 2 minutes.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When it foams, break the eggs into the pan, spacing them about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) apart. Reduce the heat to low and season the eggs with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook until the whites are set and the yolks begin to firm around the edges, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Just before the eggs are ready, divide the asparagus evenly among individual plates. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the eggs to the plates. Sprinkle the eggs and asparagus with the pancetta-bread crumb mixture, top with a light dusting of Parmesan cheese, and serve. Serves 4.