Fried duck’s eggs with asparagus and wild garlic

Serves 4

Asparagus and eggs have a certain affinity, and whether you dunk asparagus spears into a soft-boiled egg or thinly slice them into scrambled eggs, they were just made for each other. If you’re a real asparagus lover, you could have this dish for breakfast.

Ingredients

4 free-range duck’s eggs
150g–200g preferably thin asparagus, trimmed of woody stalks
80g–100g good-quality salted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A small handful of wild garlic leaves, torn into two or three pieces

Method

Cook the asparagus in boiling, salted water for 4–5 minutes until tender, drain, leave to cool a little, then cut the tips off to about 3cm and slice the rest quite thinly on the angle. Melt half of the butter in a pan and gently cook the wild garlic leaves for about a minute until they soften, then add the asparagus and season.

Meanwhile, gently fry the duck’s eggs in butter, seasoning the whites with a little sea salt as they’re cooking. Serve the eggs on warmed serving plates with the asparagus and wild garlic spooned around.

Asparagus and wild-salmon salad with poached duck’s eggs

I often feel there’s a race on among producters as to who can get out the first of the season’s asparagus. I don’t blame the British asparagus-growers for wanting to extend their season, because it’s a great but underrated luxurious vegetable that gets downgraded by the cheap imports. This is a delicious spring main-course salad, especially if you’ve caught your first spring salmon and want to stretch it out to a few meals.

Ingredients

400g piece of wild-salmon fillet, boned and skinned
A couple good knobs of butter
Salt and black pepper
500g asparagus, trimmed of woody stalks
A couple handfuls of small salad (pennywort) leaves
4 medium free-range duck’s eggs

For the dressing

1tbsp cider vinegar
1tsp Dijon mustard
Juice of quarter lemon
4–5tbsp extra-virgin rapeseed oil

Method

Heat the butter in a frying pan, season the salmon and fry it on a medium heat for about 3–5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Meanwhile, cook the asparagus for about 3–4 minutes in boiling salted water, depending on the thickness, until tender. Poach the eggs and drain on some kitchen paper. Whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing together and season.

To serve, arrange the pennywort leaves on plates or bowls and break the salmon into pieces onto and in among the leaves. Cut the tips of the asparagus off to about 3cm and slice the rest on the angle and arrange them on the leaves. Place the egg in the middle, season the salad lightly and spoon the dressing over.

Mark Hix’s ‘Seasonal Food’ is available from Quadrille at £25 (www.restaurantsetcltd.co.uk)