In June, when asparagus season in Upstate New York hits its prime, it doesn't take much to coax brilliant flavor out of the fresh, green stalks.
So while asparagus are delicious simply steamed with lemony aioli, or roasted and topped with grated Romano cheese and olive oil, a little cured meat and a crispy, fried duck egg never hurts anything.
Wrapping the asparagus in bacon produces way too much smoke and grease, but it's on the right track. The subtle smokiness of speck--prosciutto's smokey cousin--adds the right balance of smoke and cured meat funk to the dish.
The egg is also key. Sure, a runny poached egg would do the trick, but the fried edges from the sunny-side up duck egg provides both the oozing yolk and a crispy, complementary texture that mimicked the speck.
The best of both worlds.
A smear of Calabrian chili paste on both sides of the asparagus finishes the plate with a punch of spice and welcome fruity flavor.
Try it for $10 at Apizza Regionale in Syracuse.