roasted asparagus and prosciutto

I had hoped to get this recipe to you before Easter Sunday, of course, but life intervened. No matter. Surely you have leftover eggs and asparagus that need a second destiny. If not, allow me to give you a scrumptious excuse for yet another springtime brunch.

As some of you know, we keep a modest flock of chickens—very modest, as in two chickens: a bossy bantam bird named Isabelle, and a feathery hulk named Eugenie. They seem to have the lifelong mission of becoming house chickens and make every effort to sneak in through the back door, frequently preening themselves on the porch until the door opens and they can again attempt to dart inside. They are not the kind of barnyard animals whom you can easily overlook.

backyard chickens

eggs benedict with asparagus

So when two weeks ago my husband mentioned that he hadn’t seen Eugenie for a day, we both cocked our heads in worry. By nightfall, after the baby was asleep in his crib, I went out to search for the missing chicken with a flashlight. I found her in the crawlspace beneath the house. When I saw her feathery silhouette seemingly motionless on the dirt the following afternoon, I feared the worst.

As it turns out the old coot wasn’t dead, she was keeping a secret. About two dozen secrets.

egg nest

Eugenie’s resurrection and her hidden nest were cause for celebration and a good opportunity to showcase a recipe that my mom shared with me last month. It’s not quite a one-handed meal, but it’s lickety-split fast, and if you have a weakness for hollandaise sauce, you’re in for a treat.

eggs benedict and roasted asparagus

Roasted Asparagus & Prosciutto

Recipes courtesy of Ina Garten

Serves 3

1 pound fresh asparagus (not too thin)

good olive oil

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 large slices prosciutto

1½ tablespoons unsalted butter

3 extra-large eggs

Easy Hollandaise Sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

If the asparagus are thick, peel them halfway up the stalks. Cut off and discard the bottom third of the asparagus. Place the asparagus in a single layer on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, until the stalks are just tender. Meanwhile, place the prosciutto in a single layer on another sheet pan and roast in the same oven for 5 minutes.

Melt the butter in a medium (10-inch) sauté pan over medium heat and wait until the bubbles almost subside. Crack the eggs into the skillet, keeping them separate, if possible. Sprinkle the eggs generously with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny. Don’t turn them over!

Arrange the asparagus on 3 plates. Place 2 slices of prosciutto on top of each pile, drizzle with hollandaise sauce, and place a fried egg on top of the prosciutto. Serve hot.

Easy Hollandaise Sauce

Makes ½ cup

2 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature

1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

pinch of cayenne pepper

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)

Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, and cayenne in the jar of a blender and process on low for 15 seconds. Melt the butter in a small saucepan until it is sizzling hot. Remove the small clear insert in the top of the blender. With the blender on low, slowly add the hot butter to the egg and lemon mixture and blend for 30 seconds, until the sauce is very thick. Use immediately.

chicken in the living room