Serves 4
15 minutes prep, 10 minutes cooking, 25 minutes total
  • 1 large bunch asparagus (about 1 pound)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 extra-large eggs, preferably organic
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano

1. Break the tough stems off the asparagus and discard. Arrange the asparagus in a large skillet set over high heat; add the water and salt. Cover and steam the asparagus, rearranging them occasionally, until they are crisp-tender and all but 1 tablespoon of the water has evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes. (Check the asparagus periodically; if the water is evaporating too quickly, add a few more tablespoons. Or, if there is still too much by the time the vegetables are tender, pour it off, holding the vegetables in the pan with the lid.) Remove the lid and add 1 teaspoon of the butter or olive oil; toss the asparagus well to coat them. Turn off the heat.

2. Carefully break the eggs into a bowl without breaking the yolks. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Add the remaining butter or oil and swirl to coat. Add the eggs, gently nudging the yolks so they are evenly spaced in the pan; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook until the white are set but the yolks are still runny. When the eggs are done, separate them with a spatula.

3. Arrange some of the asparagus on each of 4 dinner plates. Sprinkle each serving with some cheese and place an egg on top. Spoon some of the remaining cheese over each egg. Serve at once.

Excerpted from The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider. Copyright 2006 by Sally Schneider. Reprinted with permission from William Morrow/An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.