Blanched Asparagus and Crispy Parma Ham with a Rocket Pesto

Is your pesto the besto?

wish to dish pesto asparagus and eggs recipe (6)wish to dish pesto asparagus and eggs recipe (2)wish to dish pesto asparagus and eggs recipe (4)

Hello I am back again as promised with a dose of brunch inspo to set you up for the week ahead. Not that you should feel restricted to making this recipe only in the morning as it would be delicious at any time of day. It is definitely a “does what it says on the tin”, or in this case the title, recipe. Layer up asparagus, rocket, parma ham and poached eggs and then drizzle over your freshly made pesto – what could be better?

I generally pan fry asparagus in olive oil but as I was including an oil based sauce (pesto) I thought I would keep the asparagus lighter and fresher by blanching it instead. For those who do not know blanching is a technique where you briefly boil food before submerging it in ice cold water. It is a particularly useful method to use with vegetables as it preserves their vibrant colour and crunch – it is also perfect when photographing your food to avoid images of anemic and bland veg! Plus you can prep the veg ahead of time and just leave it to chill in water until you need to use it; which is honestly a godsend in this recipe as you can turn your full attention to poaching the eggs and crisping up your parma ham!

Halloumi is a great substitute for the ham if you are vegetarian or just not that keen on the latter as if pan fried you get the same crispy outer surface and it brings the same wonderful salty flavour to the dish.

wish to dish pesto asparagus and eggs recipe (7)wish to dish pesto asparagus and eggs recipe (13)wish to dish pesto asparagus and eggs recipe (12)wish to dish pesto asparagus and eggs recipe (8)wish to dish pesto asparagus and eggs recipe (10)

Serves 2

Prep time: 10 minutes 

Cooking time: 15 minutes 


  • 100 g asparagus, woody ends snapped off
  • 4 fresh eggs, at room temperature
  • 80 g (around 6 slices) parma ham
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 75 g rocket
  • 1 large handful basil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, skin removed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • salt and pepper


  1. First make the pesto. In a food processor blend together the basil, pine nuts, lemon juice, garlic and half of the rocket until you have a thick paste. Gradually pour in 2 tbsp of olive oil until the pesto reaches a loose creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set to one side.
  2. Fill a large high sided frying pan with boiling sated water and cook the asparagus for three minutes. Remove it from the pan and place it in a dish of ice cold water.
  3. Place a frying pan on a medium heat and fry up all of the parma ham until it is crispy and darkened in colour. Tear this up into bite sized slices.
  4. To poach the eggs half fill a medium saucepan up with water and bring it to the boil. Add the vinegar and turn down the heat so that the water is not bubbling as this can break up the egg. Crack each egg into a ramekin or small bowl. Use a spoon to stir the water quickly, creating a whirlpool. Hold the ramekin close to the surface of the water and drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool. Leave the egg in the water for 3 – 5 minutes until the white has set and then remove using a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered with kitchen towel to absorb moisture. Do this in turn with the eggs – or do a few at a time if you are feeling brave.
  5. Now we are ready to layer up. Scatter the remaining rocket over the plate you are using and drizzle over some of the pesto. Then place the asparagus and parma ham on top, drizzle more pesto and then top this all off with the poached eggs. I then like to drizzle over the remaining olive oil and so a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Thank you so much for reading this post, I hope that you enjoyed it! Please let me know what you think in the comments as I love hearing from you and do not forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and on this blog to see more recipes and foodie musings from me. The link to do both can be found below if on a tablet/ phone or in the side bar if on a computer. I have also recently joined Pinterest so follow me on there for even more foodie inspiration – my username is Wish to Dish.

74 thoughts on “Blanched Asparagus and Crispy Parma Ham with a Rocket Pesto

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