When asparagus is producing in our garden, I’m always looking for interesting ways to use it. When you grow asparagus, it’s definitely a feast-or-famine type of thing: you’re either waiting for it to produce, dealing with heaps of asparagus or, after six weeks of eating asparagus non-stop, you’re ready for it to leaf out and start storing it’s energy for the next year. This is the kind of stuff you learn if you garden – how our ancestors lived not that long ago, appreciating produce in it’s season. Though to be honest, there are many things I’m glad we can have longer than just a few weeks because of refrigeration and shipping. But that’s our secret, okay?
Okay, back off the rabbit trail. Other than using asparagus in a quiche or frittata that we eat for dinner, I had not thought of adding asparagus to eggs until our daughter went on a mission trip to northern Mexico a couple years ago and came back saying her host mother served them scrambled eggs with asparagus for breakfast (that she actually ate it which was the more surprising thing about that conversation, though). Light bulb moment!
Since then I have been adding asparagus when it’s in season to our eggs, and since we love eggs benedict I thought of combining the concept in a paleo, low-carb way by baking the eggs and asparagus in ham “cups” created by lining muffin tins with thin ham and then topping with our super easy hollandaise sauce. And then I upped the flavor ante by roasting the asparagus first in garlic and olive oil just until crisp-tender. Ah, yes – success!!
And while not the easiest dish to capture well in a photo, take it from me (and my family) these asparagus and ham egg cups were delicious and such a fun breakfast treat served with fruit and coffee. Which isn’t to say this wouldn’t make a lovely light dinner or lunch, either. And since it looks just a bit elegant, anyone that you make this for will feel special!
Asparagus & Ham Eggs Cups with Easy Hollandaise Sauce
- 1/2 lb. asparagus
- 1 Tb. olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 6 slices thin-cut ham
- 6 eggs
- salt and pepper
- and this Easy Hollandaise Sauce recipe (which uses 4 eggs, so the whole recipe needs 10 eggs) or shredded cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Trim asparagus and cut into 1-inch pieces. Toss with olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast for 7-9 minutes until tender-crisp (depending on the thickness of your spears, it may take shorter or longer). Remove from oven.
- In an 4 or 8-cup glass measuring cup or bowl with a pouring spout, beat eggs with 1/4 water or milk and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Lightly coat a 6-cup muffin tin with oil and line each cup with a slice of ham, easing to fit as needed. Divide the roasted asparagus pieces between the ham-lined cups, and then pour the egg mixture evenly onto the ham in the cups (some may ooze outside of the ham and that’s okay – it will all bake together).
- Add the tin to the oven and bake for 15 minutes (or until desired doneness – test with a knife in the centers).
- Meanwhile, make the easy (really – you use the microwave!) hollandaise sauce. Optionally, if you don’t want to top with the sauce, you can add shredded cheese to the tops during the last 5 minutes of baking.
- After removing the egg cups from the oven, let them sit for a few minutes and then remove them with a flexible spatula to individual plates. Drizzle with hollandaise sauce and serve.
Makes 4-6 servings