* 1 tsp unsalted butter
* 2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white & light-green parts only)
* 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
* 2 lb asparagus, tough ends removed
* 1 tbsp white vinegar
* 6 quail eggs
* 3 slices pancetta, cut into thin strips
* 6 slices toasted baguette, ¼-inch thick
(see INSTRUCTIONS below)
1. In a large pot, sauté leeks in butter over medium heat until tender, about 4 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil.
2. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Add to stock and simmer until they turn bright green. Remove, reserving 12 tips, then purée soup in a blender. Return to pot over low heat.
3. In a small pot, bring water to a simmer and add vinegar. Use a serrated knife to open a quail egg into a small bowl. Swirl simmering water clockwise with a spoon. Carefully slip egg into water. After 60 seconds the egg’s white will start to set. Gently remove egg from pot and transfer to a bowl of ice water. This will stop the egg from cooking immediately and guarantee a runny yolk. Repeat with remaining eggs.
4. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook pancetta strips until crisp. Transfer to paper towel to drain.
5. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm topped with a slice of toasted baguette, an egg, two asparagus tips and pancetta strips. **Chef’s tip:** Can’t find quail eggs? Simply replace with farmhouse eggs.