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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
José Pizarro

José Pizarro’s recipe for steamed asparagus with jamón and crispy fried egg

José Pizarro's steamed asparagus with jamón and crispy fried egg.
José Pizarro’s steamed asparagus with jamón and crisp fried egg. Photograph: Ola O Smit/The Guardian. Food styling: Esther Clark. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins. Food assistant: Caitlin Macdonald.

Asparagus isn’t worth eating at any other time of year than spring, which is one of the reasons I look forward to the new season so much. Today’s dish is a classic combination of ingredients used throughout Spain, where the rich creaminess of good-quality egg yolks meets the deep saltiness of delicious jamón; they make the perfect match for the distinct, bittersweet, green earthiness of asparagus. There are many other ways to enjoy this vegetable, but, to my mind, simple is best: just three main ingredients make this exquisite dish.

Steamed asparagus with jamón and crisp fried egg

If you grow your own herbs, they should be starting to flower around about now. Pick those beautiful purple petals and use them to garnish this lovely starter or light lunch.

Prep 5 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 4

2 bunches new-season asparagus (about 500g)
75ml olive oil
eggs, free-range for preference
75g sliced jamón
A good drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
, to finish
Flaked salt and black pepper
1 handful fresh chives
, snipped, to finish

Trim the woody ends of the asparagus, then steam the spears for three to four minutes, until tender to the tip of a knife.

Meanwhile, put the oil in a nonstick pan on a medium-high heat, until it starts to shimmer. Add the eggs and fry until the whites are bubbly and crisp at the edges but the yolks are still runny. Remove with a spatula and pat their bottoms dry on a sheet of kitchen roll.

Arrange the asparagus on four warmed plates, top each portion with an egg and the slices of jamón, then drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and scatter with flaky sea salt and black pepper. Sprinkle over the chives and serve.

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