Cheesy asparagus eggs on toast
- April 2019
- Serves 6
- Hands-on time 25 min, oven time 2½ hours, simmering time 30 min
Francesco Mazzei says: “This asparagus with eggs is a great way to start the day, combining beautiful seasonal asparagus with the classic Italian flavours of black olives and sun-blush tomatoes.”
Love asparagus for brunch? You should try our asparagus and pancetta soldiers with soft-boiled eggs.
Or check out the video to see Francesco make his recipe.
- Vegetarian recipes
- 33.4g (9.1g saturated)
- 37.1g (5g sugars)
For the baked ricotta
- 2 tsp polenta
- Pinch white pepper
- 250g ricotta
For the asparagus and eggs
- 20 asparagus spears (see tips)
- Splash extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 large free-range eggs, preferably duck eggs (see tips)
- 120g sun-blush tomatoes
- 150g good-quality black olives, pitted
- Bunch fresh chives, chopped
- 50g grana padano or 30g pecorino cheese, grated
- 6 slices sourdough bread, toasted and cut in half
- Handful pea shoots
- Handful toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- Heat the oven to 120°C/100°C fan/gas ½. Mix the polenta with a little salt and white pepper. Carefully turn the tub of ricotta out onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, then spoon the polenta over the ricotta to roughly coat it – this helps the ricotta dry out in the oven. Bake for 2½ hours until it starts to dry out and firm up. Take out of the oven and leave to cool (see Make Ahead).
- Clean the asparagus, breaking off the tougher ends, peeling the bottom of each spear, then breaking each into three pieces. Put the prepared spears in iced water and set aside. Put the trimmings in a pan with 1 litre water and some salt, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes to make a stock. When the stock is ready, pass it through a sieve (discard the solids), return the stock to the pan and bring it back to the boil. Blanch the iced asparagus spears in the stock for about 30 seconds, then return them to the iced water. Keep the stock to one side.
- Put a good splash of olive oil in a large frying pan set over a medium-high heat. Break the eggs into the hot pan and quickly add the blanched asparagus spears, tomatoes, olives, chives, salt and pepper, then the cheese. When the egg whites are half-set, break the yolks with a wooden spoon and briefly mix together. Remove from the heat and briefly stir again. This is the Italian way, in which the eggs are not scrambled, but quickly stirred so the whites and yolks remain mostly separate. We would never add cream to eggs in Calabria, but you can add a splash of asparagus stock if you want a little extra moisture.
- Put 2 toast halves on each of 6 warmed serving plates. Top with the eggs and a dollop or two of baked ricotta, then scatter over the pea shoots, toasted chopped hazelnuts and a little extra grated cheese.
Use a mixture of white, green and wild asparagus if you can find them.
Use hen’s eggs if you can’t find duck eggs. Use up any leftover baked ricotta in salads or tomato-based pastas.
Watch Francesco make these delicious eggs below…
The baked ricotta can be kept covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
A glass of gently sparkling prosecco suits the asparagus and egg perfectly.
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