Shaved asparagus with prosciutto and poached egg on toast This dish is spring on a plate. The fresh, raw asparagus is surprisingly mellowed by the egg and the olive oil. The addition of Prosciutto di San Daniele was a recommendation by Joe DiPasquale, owner of DiPasquales in Highlandtown, who informed me that "it's sweeter than Prosciutto di Parma and would be great with the asparagus." He was absolutely right; the prosciutto added depth to the dish. Make sure the extra virgin olive oil you choose is fresh and vibrant tasting to accentuate the flavor of the asparagus. DiPasquale suggested Coluccio brand extra-virgin olive oil, which had a peppery aftertaste and paired wonderfully with the other flavors of the dish. Makes: 1 serving 5 spears of asparagus (woody bottoms removed and shaved with a vegetable peeler into thin oblong discs) 1 large egg 3 slices of Prosciutto di San Daniele (or any other prosciutto), sliced extra thin 1 slice of crusty Italian bread cut 1 inch thick extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper 1 tablespoon vinegar To a sauce pot of water, add the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Bring water to a small simmer. Crack the egg into a ramekin and then gently slide the egg into the water. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon to a cloth napkin to drain. Drizzle one side of the bread with some olive oil. Spread the oil around with your finger to coat the bread. Toast in a toaster oven or grill on a grill pan until golden brown with some scorch marks on it. While the toast is still hot, lay the prosciutto on top of it in one layer. Top that with the egg and the shaved asparagus. Anoint all of it with the extra virgin olive oil and hit it with salt and pepper to taste, but be a little heavier-handed with the pepper than you normally would. Serve immediately. Tip: Use a spoon to create a vortex in the water before you drop the egg in by swirling the spoon around the sauce pot. The vortex keeps the egg in the center of the pan while it sets instead of running all over the water and making a stringy mess.
Photo and styling by John Houser III, Special to The Baltimore Sun