Parmesan-Crusted Asparagus and Poached Egg
1 1/2 lbs. (about 12 spears) asparagus
About 2/3 C. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 medium to large eggs
Snap off woody ends of asparagus spears and lightly peel ends with a vegetable peeler. Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil. Add asparagus and cook, uncovered, over medium heat until just tender and bright green, about 4 minutes for thin, 5 minutes for medium and 7 minutes for thick spears. Drain and refresh under cold water. Pat dry. (Can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated.)
Preheat broiler. In a large nonstick skillet, bring 1 inch of salted water to a simmer. Crack eggs and gently slip them into the water. Cook until yolks begin to set but are still runny.
While eggs are cooking, divide asparagus among 4 large ovenproof plates or 1 platter, placing spears in a single layer. Reserving about 4 teaspoons cheese, sprinkle each portion of asparagus with 2 tablespoons cheese. Place under broiler until cheese turns golden brown and begins to crisp. Watch carefully to prevent burning.
Remove asparagus from broiler and let stand until eggs are ready. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel, blotting gently. Place an egg on the center of each serving of asparagus or arrange evenly on platter. Sprinkle eggs with coarse salt, reserved cheese (about 1 teaspoon per egg) and coarsely cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.