With its salty pancetta, crispy bread crumbs and sweet roasted asparagus, this fried egg dish boasts the perfect marriage of complementary ingredients. If there are just two of you for breakfast, cut this recipe in half, since it’s best enjoyed hot from the pan.
Fried Eggs with Asparagus and Pancetta
- 4 slices white bread
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
- 16 asparagus spears, tough ends removed
- Olive oil for drizzling
- 2 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 2 thin slices pancetta, chopped
- 4 eggs
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
1. Cut the crusts off the bread slices and discard. Tear the bread into pieces. In a food processor, combine the bread pieces and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Process to form coarse crumbs. Add the thyme or rosemary and pulse a few times, just until well mixed. You should have 1 cup (2 oz./60 g). (The crumbs can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.)
2. Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).
3. Spread the asparagus in a baking dish large enough to hold it in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Turn the spears to coat them evenly. Roast, turning once or twice, until crisp-tender and the color has darkened slightly, about 15 minutes; the timing will depend on the thickness of the spears. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
4. In a small fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the 2 tsp. butter. Add the pancetta and sauté just until it darkens slightly, about 1 minute. Add the bread crumbs and sauté until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
5. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the 2 Tbs. butter. 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 and cook until the whites are set and the yolks begin to firm around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.
6. Just before the eggs are ready, arrange the asparagus on plates. Transfer the eggs to the plates. Sprinkle the eggs and asparagus with the bread crumb mixture. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve. Serves 4.
Couples will find inspiring ideas for everything from weeknight suppers to Saturday dinner parties in our Newlywed Cookbook.