Asparagus With Fried Eggs & Sizzled Paprika Croutons

April 30, 2020
5 Ratings
Photo by Anna Billingskog
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

There are several reasons to keep this speedy, supremely satisfying meal in your rotation: It’s a lifesaver on nights when you’re tired to cook. It’s a new way to highlight asparagus, one of spring’s most special gems. Or, if you’re like me, it’s a perfect excuse to make and devour these sizzled paprika croutons, which get crispy on the outside yet stay soft on the inside, and are all kinds of delicious when combined with a runny-yolk fried egg and crisp-tender asparagus.

Some notes as you get going: Any type of day-old crusty bread or sourdough is good for the croutons. Lately, I’ve been using this peasant bread (which makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich to boot). Tear (don’t cut) the bread: the irregular shapes and sizes lend a variety of textures to the croutons, and the runny yolk better clings to them (a very good thing indeed!). If you don’t have asparagus, feel free to substitute broccoli (cut into thin, small florets so they’ll cook quickly), sugar snap or snow peas, or a few handfuls of kale or other leafy greens. Even a handful of chopped herbs or scallions sprinkled over the dish before serving works well. —EmilyC

What You'll Need
  • 3 large slices crusty bread, torn (crust and all) into bite-sized pieces (yielding about 3 cups in total) (see author note)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, plus additional for sprinkling on eggs
  • 1 bunch asparagus (1 pound), tough ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 pinch kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 pinch black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon butter, and garlic cloves over medium heat. Add the smoked paprika (it will gently sizzle), then mix in the bread. Stir until each piece is evenly coated in the paprika and fat. Saute for about 3 minutes, or until the croutons are lightly toasted and starting to crisp around the edges (lowering the heat, if needed, to not burn the butter or paprika).
  2. Move the croutons to the edges of the skillet. In the middle, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the asparagus. Season with salt and black pepper, then stir to integrate with the croutons. Saute, stirring frequently, until the asparagus is crisp-tender and the croutons are nicely crisp yet soft in the middle, about 4 minutes (time may vary based on the spears’ thickness). Adjust seasoning to taste. Give the garlic cloves a quick chop and stir into the asparagus, or save for another use.
  3. Either in a separate skillet, or in the same skillet (with the asparagus and croutons transferred to another dish; no need to clean the skillet), heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Crack eggs into the skillet and season with salt, pepper, and a few pinches of smoked paprika evenly sprinkled over the eggs. Fry until the whites are golden brown and crispy at the edges, and yolks are still runny, about 2 to 3 minutes (or longer for yolks on the medium or well side).
  4. To serve, transfer the asparagus and croutons to plates and top with the fried eggs. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • EmilyC
  • Isa
  • deirdre haj
    deirdre haj
  • Nancy Mck
    Nancy Mck

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

9 Reviews

Isa August 12, 2020
Delicious! We only had broccolini on hand, so that is what we used instead of asparagus...but we will add this to the rotation. Crusty bread from the farmer’s market, amazing on its own...transcendental when crouton-ed in this smoky manner! My 10 year old prepped and made the croutons and the garlic/smoked paprika (extra yum!), which made this more of a one-hour-long process(!). But the help is always appreciated ;) and then he loved it as well! Thank you!
EmilyC August 13, 2020
Isa: your comment made me smile! I have a 10 year old too...isn't it great when they help out (even if it does delay dinner a bit). So glad you enjoyed this dish -- thanks so much for trying it and circling back!
deirdre H. June 7, 2020
Loved this! Easier than it seems and so good! Wonderful Sunday night meal and satisfying to everyone at the table.
EmilyC June 24, 2020
Wonderful to hear - thanks Deirdre!
deirdre H. June 7, 2020
Loved this! Easier than it seems and so good! Wonderful Sunday night meal and satisfying to everyone at the table
Nancy M. May 8, 2020
I made this last night. It was so good, I'm making it again tonight.
EmilyC May 8, 2020
Yay -- I'm so pleased that you're making this two nights in a row! Thanks so much for your note, Nancy!
JPG May 7, 2020
This is fabulous. I think it has just become a new household favorite. Excellent combination of textures and flavors. Thank you.
EmilyC May 7, 2020
Wonderful - so happy you liked it, JPG! Thanks for your note!