For each nest, thinly slice 1 piece of ham, making sure not to tear it. Then
make a cut from edge to centre. Overlapping cut edges, press ham into an
ungreased muffin cup. (If ham sticks up way above tin, remove and trim ham.)
Break an egg into ham cup. Sprinkle with a generous amount of grated cheese such
as mozzarella, Asiago or fontina.
Repeat for as many ham nests as you like. Bake at 350°F. for 20 min. Run a knife
around outside of ham and use a spatula to remove nests from cups.
Parmesan-Crusted Asparagus and Poached Egg
1 1/2 lbs. (about 12 spears) asparagus
About 2/3 C. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 medium to large eggs
Snap off woody ends of asparagus spears and lightly peel ends with a vegetable
peeler. Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil. Add asparagus and cook,
uncovered, over medium heat until just tender and bright green, about 4 minutes
for thin, 5 minutes for medium and 7 minutes for thick spears. Drain and refresh
under cold water. Pat dry. (Can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated.)
Preheat broiler. In a large nonstick skillet, bring 1 inch of salted water to a
simmer. Crack eggs and gently slip them into the water. Cook until yolks begin
to set but are still runny.
While eggs are cooking, divide asparagus among 4 large ovenproof plates or 1
platter, placing spears in a single layer. Reserving about 4 teaspoons cheese,
sprinkle each portion of asparagus with 2 tablespoons cheese. Place under
broiler until cheese turns golden brown and begins to crisp. Watch carefully to
Remove asparagus from broiler and let stand until eggs are ready. Remove eggs
from water with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel, blotting gently.
Place an egg on the center of each serving of asparagus or arrange evenly on
platter. Sprinkle eggs with coarse salt, reserved cheese (about 1 teaspoon per
egg) and coarsely cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.