Absurdly Addictive Asparagus

By • April 9, 2010 • 267 Comments



Author Notes: I guess there's a reason Vosges Haut-chocolat Bacon and Chocolate bars are growing in popularity...it just seems that when you add bacon to almost anything, the salty smokiness heightens the other ingredients. Bacon may rule, but its Italian cousin, Pancetta, is also a contender for the crown. Take a garden fresh ingredient like asparagus and pair it with pancetta and you instantly get Snap, Crackle, Crisp all in one bite. There's something about the bite-size pieces of tender crisp asparagus, buttery leeks, crackly pancetta, and delicately crunchy pinenuts that make it somehow hard for me to stop eating this easy to prepare dish. I tried adding Parmigiano Reggiano at the end, but it overpowered the citrus. After testing the delectable sugar cookie finalist recipes with MonkeyMom tonight, I have to wonder if the number 52 will be even more symbolic when it represents the number of pounds we've gained by the end of the year. Apparently, Asparagus isn't the only thing I'm addicted to— Food52 is rapidly becoming a habit, too. (Sorry for the lack of a photo— the camera is out of commission this week...)kaykay

Food52 Review: The title pretty much says it all. With her recipe, kaykay takes an already promising set of ingredients and artfully combines them in such a way that the resulting dish exceeds the sum of its parts. 2-inch lengths of asparagus, crisp-tender to the bite, take center stage in a savory tangle of leeks, pancetta, garlic, orange zest, parsley and pine nuts. The rendered fat from the pancetta, along with a knob of butter, is just enough to keep the vegetables from being dry without smothering the fresh flavors. The recipe is supposed to serve 4, but we could easily imagine polishing off an entire pan by ourselves. - A&MA&M

Serves 4

  • 4 ounces pancetta, cut into 3/8 inch to 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed and sliced into 2 inch pieces on the bias
  • 1 1/4 cup leek, thinly sliced crosswise (white and pale green parts only)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1-2 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. In a large non-stick pan, sauté pancetta, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until crisp and lightly golden.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan. Add asparagus pieces and leek and sauté until asparagus is tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, lemon and orange zest, toasted pine nuts and parsley and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and salt and serve immediately.
Jump to Comments (267)

Comments (267) Questions (7)

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27 days ago lucas2014

How can we be sure that we are making the right test. - James Cullem

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about 1 month ago michelle

I made this two nights ago and it turned out really well except I forgot to put the orange zest in. To be honest, I couldn't taste the lemon zest at all even though i used the whole lemon. Would using some of the juice help?

Stringio

about 1 month ago Kiel Man

Nice good job..I want also share my Philippines Food Recipes blog. http://philippinesfoodrecipes... this blog helps you how to prepare best filipino foods in easy way with no hassle. If you have suggestion or if want to know the recipe of specific filipino foods you want to prepare just let me know i will post it. I'm glad to help you. thank you.

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3 months ago sharontesche

This is a great recipe. My third time making it, I decided it needed something sweet. The lemon and orange just got overwhelmed by the garlic. So I added a couple of dashes of dried cranberries and it was brighter and slightly more interesting. Maybe working with the citrus would get similar results.

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3 months ago ckirby

I made this last night and will add it to my weekly side dishes. I think it would be great with a bit more butter and tossed with pasta for a one dish meal.

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3 months ago Vanina Howan

Amazing Recipe. However I like it without the pine nuts toasted.
Thanks for sharing!

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3 months ago lbt

this was delicious

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4 months ago SweetTooth

Pretty tasty! I would definitely add the garlic earlier; it was a little bit sharp for me. Overall, though, excellent!

Me

4 months ago jampot

Super-duper wonderfully nom-nom good! Thank you!

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4 months ago Gina Gathings

Just made this and it is delicious and unusual! Thank you for a beautifully fabulous dish!

Open-uri20140713-6458-5iid8v

4 months ago Janice

I made this vegetarian and it was a huge hit. Everyone loved it.

Linda_and_lisa

4 months ago Double Helping

This is a fantastic recipe. Great for spring!

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4 months ago Claudia

Made this for Easter dinner -- followed recipe as written. Delicious and beautiful.

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5 months ago mklug

Made this again night before last and it was better than even the first time I made it (both times used prosciutto because I am insane about prosciutto and because it was available), also I had the world's most juicy orange, so I skipped the zest and just splashed in the juice. It was crazy good! Because I cannot 'eyeball' weight, I ended up with 2x as must asparagus as needed, so tonight I'm making basically the same thing again, but maybe tossing in some grape tomatoes or sundried and putting it over pasta. Thank you again for this divine recipe!

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5 months ago Cindy Rucker

Loved this recipe! I used green and white asparagus since my husband is German and has a deep love for the white stuff. Delish!

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6 months ago Chef Tempio

This also works with shaved brussel sprouts instead of the asparagus.

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6 months ago Lygia

yummy! I made this for a group of 10 alongside parmesan risotto and grilled pork tenderloin. To save some time, I sauteed the pancetta and leeks ahead of time. I also broiled the asparagus just for a few minutes instead of sauteeing them because I wanted them to remain whole. About 30min before service, I reheated the pancetta and leeks, added the garlic, zest and parsley. Also deglazed with a splash of redwine vinegar. I added the pancetta mixture to the broiled asparagus and tossed them around on the sheet pan. Then I broiled them for a minute or more and left them in the warm oven until service time. SOOOO good! -Also did not add butter, pancetta let off enough fat.

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6 months ago Kelli Panepinto

Really good recipe - I would just skip the butter. The grease from the pancetta was plenty to coat and cook the asparagus and leeks.

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6 months ago megan

This was a big hit. I deglazed the pan at the very end with a splash of aged white wine vinegar and it was insanely good.