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Baked Eggs with Spinach, Asparagus, and Prosciutto

(C) Melanie AcevedoBake the eggs, in their nests of crusty bread, until the whites are just set. When you cut into the egg, the still-liquid yolk acts as a sauce. If spicy food is your fancy, try serving a favorite salsa on the side.

Yield: 4 servings

1 small round loaf crusty bread (about 10 ounces), 2 ends removed, the rest cut into 4 thick slices
3/4 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off and discarded, spears cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 pound thin-sliced prosciutto
1/4 pound Gruyere, grated
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, drained, and squeezed dry
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 450 F. Put the bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, turning once, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes in all. Transfer to an oiled baking dish.

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain thoroughly.

Using your fingers, make a depression in the center of each slice of bread. Arrange one or two slices of prosciutto around the edge of each slice of bread. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Press a quarter of the remaining cheese into the center of each slice of bread. Top the cheese with the spinach, and then surround that with the asparagus. Break an egg into a small dish. Carefully slip the egg into one of the spinach nests. Repeat with remaining eggs. Sprinkle the eggs with the salt and pepper and the reserved cheese. Bake, covered, until the egg whites are just set, 10 to 15 minutes.

Wine Recommendation
New Zealand sauvignon blanc have a distinctive style, with a powerful streak of acidity, ripe citrus and gooseberry flavors, and a singular note of asparagus. Try one with this egg dish for an intriguing pas de deux.

Source: Food & Wine Quick from Scratch Vegetable Main Dishes - order a subscription!

Safety tips: about raw eggs!

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