Cook d'Azur: Eggs en cocotte with asparagus wrapped in Parma ham

Katie Bills combines delicious asparagus with eggs for an indulgent brunch, light summer supper or a starter

Eggs en CocotteIngredients

Asparagus spears (around 5 per person)
Thinly sliced Parma ham
2 medium fresh eggs
2 tablespoons of crème fraîche
Fresh chives and pea shoots to garnish
Quality extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, Black pepper

For the asparagus

Cut slices of Parma ham into thin strips.

Wrap diagonally around the asparagus spears until they are covered, and lay on a baking sheet.

Lightly brush with olive oil and black pepper.

Bake under the grill for between 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly crisp.

For the Eggs en Cocotte

Place one tablespoon of crème fraîche in a buttered ramekin, followed by one egg.

Repeat again to make sure the eggs and crème fraîche are spread out. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Finely chop chives and scatter over the top of the dish with the pea shoots.

Place the ramekins in the oven and bake at 190°C/375°F for about 15 minutes, according to your preference for eggs. The whites should be firm to the touch and the yolks soft.

Wine's worst enemy

Asparagus Bundle It's tricky to find a wine that goes well with asparagus as it has a sulphur compound (methyl mercaptan) that gives the wine a metallic taste.

Tip: When serving these green spears, try “cool-climate wines” (like those from northern France) made from grapes that ripen slower and therefore produce higher acidity and more complex flavours. This helps bring food, even asparagus, to life.

Mister Piggy goes to market

Your guide to what's in season from Dominique Piette, stallholder at the Marché Forville, Cannes and his friend Mister Piggy

  • Dominique Piette at the Food MarketMarket shoppers have been looking in vain for the delicious local cherries; the cold and wet spring has decimated the crop.
  • Strawberries need sun, sun and more sun to restore their flavour.
  • Broad beans have come down in price and can now be found for around €2 a kilo.The smaller ones, fevettes, which are delicious eaten raw with salami, are still around but will set you back €6 or so a kilo.
  • Local peas remain expensive at up to €7 a kilo.
  • Don't miss out on the excellent new potatoes, the Amandine variety are plentiful and are priced to sell.
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