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Some of the most memorable dishes that I have tasted in Spain have been found in unprepossessing little restaurants in small villages while touring around the country. In Alicante province, crisply roasted tender artichokes seasoned with garlic. In Murcia province, freshly boiled ham cut into thick slices and dressed with freshly ground black pepper, lemon juice and generous amounts of fruity olive oil, crusty chewy country bread on the side. Near Guadix, a heap of braised tiny wild mushrooms  that were such a taste explosion that I can’t recall the rest of the meal. En route to Cordoba, a delicate cold soup of garlic and creamed almonds.

And north of Seville, this starter of Huevos a La Flamenca. A base of freshly made garlicy tomato sauce, with strips of ham, chorizo, peppers and asparagus into which an egg is broken, then the dish is baked to cook the egg, or the pan can be covered on the stove and the eggs steamed to set them. It is served in individual earthen ware dishes. For those of us not out toiling in the fields all day, this is maybe too substantial a dish for a starter, and I like to serve it as a light lunch or supper dish with a green salad and warm bread for dipping in.IMG_0142

This is a perfect time of the year to be cooking this dish as the asparagus is just starting to come up, but there is not enough of it to make a dish on its own. On this occasion I have added some oyster mushrooms to the dish, just because they were in the fridge.

This looks best cooked and served in individual oven proof dishes, but if you don’t have them, you can cook it in one large dish and then serve it out.

For 4

Olive oil

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

Half a kilo peeled fresh tomatoes, chopped roughly / large tin peeled plum tomatoes / 400 ml passata

4 slices Serrano ham

6 slices chorizo cut in half

8 spears asparagus

4 large eggs or 8 small

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and add the garlic. Fry a few minutes until translucent.

Add the chorizo and continue frying until it is lightly browned.

Add the tomatoes and continue cooking on a low heat for ten minutes. If you are using passata then cook for five minutes only.

Blanch the asparagus by putting it in a bowl and pouring boiling water over it. Leave it for one minute and then drain.

Divide the tomato sauce and chorizo pieces between the four oven proof dishes.

Cut each slice of ham into three and lay in the dishes leaving the centre uncovered.

Lay two asparagus spears in each dish.

Break an egg or two into the centre of each dish, and put the dishes to cook in a hot oven, 180 C, for ten minutes or so until the whites of the eggs are just opaque and set. Bear in mind that the eggs will continue to cook in the dish.

Put a paper serviette onto each of your plates and top with the hot dishes of eggs.

Serve with a green salad and hot bread.

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