Not only is this recipe bang on season with fresh spinach and British asparagus, it’s one of those dishes that make an equally good brunch as late night supper. Take out the ham to feed a vegetarian guest or swap the ricotta for a tangy blue cheese. Baked eggs work beautifully with just about anything, so this recipe will see you right through the year. It’s also a great way of using up odds and ends left over from the rest of the week.

Continue the laid back attitude by eating it straight from the tray in your favourite chair, dipping the asparagus in the runny duck eggs as you go.

Serves one


3 spears of British asparagus

3-4 left-over cooked new potatoes

Chilli flakes

2 large handfuls of fresh spinach

A slice of butchers cooked ham, chopped into bite size pieces.

Ricotta cheese

2 duck eggs

Good quality smoked paprika


Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease a small baking tray.

Simmer the asparagus spears in a little hot water until just cooked through. Drain and set aside.

Slice the new potatoes and place them in a hot frying pan with a knob of butter and a pinch of chilli flakes. Gently fry the potatoes until they are warmed through and golden brown in colour.

Place two large handfuls of spinach in a colander, rinse clean with a little cold water, before wilting with the leaves with hot water straight from the kettle. Use the back of a spoon to press any excess liquid out of the spinach and leave it to drain while you return to the greased baking tray.

Layer up your ingredients. Tip the fried potatoes into the baking tray before topping with the spinach and chopped ham. Dot over as much ricotta cheese as you fancy and nestle in the asparagus.

Use a teaspoon to create two small wells in opposite corners of the tray and fill each dip with a raw duck egg. Oven bake the dish for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are still a little runny.

I love these eggs seasoned with a pinch of sea salt and smoked paprika, eaten with a fork and fingers straight from the baking tray.

- Claire Davies is a York food writer with a passion for seasonal ingredients and historic recipes. Her blog, The Greedy Wordsmith, can be found online.