Although asparagus is available year-round, spring still stimulates the appetite for great recipes for salads and first courses. I've found that steaming and (shudder) boiling asparagus are the least flavorful methods. At the very least, sauté them in butter or olive oil, or better yet, toss with oil and roast in a hot oven or give them a good grilling. This intensifies the flavor and reduces the water content so they taste less flabby.
This preparation hardly qualifies as a recipe — it's really more of a technique. Inspired by the restaurant Almond here in NYC, it's completely straight forward. This is one of those cases where spectacular doesn't take Herculean effort. Here's how I did it:
ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH EGG
1/4 lb. pancetta, cut into lardons
2 lbs. asparagus, bottoms peeled
salt and pepper
Remove the pancetta to drain on paper towels.
Roll the asparagus around in the fat in the baking sheet, and return to the hot oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, turning and rolling them around a few times during the cooking period.
When the asparagus is close to being done, fry four eggs sunny-side up in a non-stick pan with a little bit of butter. Whites cooked but the yolks still nice and runny. Salt and pepper them.
To assemble, neatly place the asparagus on four serving plates. Scatter the lardons over and around equally. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and then carefully drape a hot fried egg over each pile of asparagus.