Cast Iron

Spring Hash

May  2, 2015
Author Notes

This hash recipe is very straight forward: it is meant for the spring vegetables lingering in the crisper, for the eighth bundle of asparagus you couldn’t help buying, but haven’t yet found a use for. It only requires one pan. It’s adaptable: you can basically sub whatever seasonal spring vegetables and herbs you have about. It tastes as green as it looks.

The dish reheats reasonably well, so it makes for a stress-free, do-ahead brunch with friends–sprinkle on some fresh herbs just before serving–or a non-pedestrian work lunch. It transforms into a main course with the addition of white beans and an egg.

If you don’t feel like washing all the plates I call for in prep, my trick is to use tin foil as a cooked-vegetable-receptacle instead.

A note for vegetarians: If you don’t do bacon, substitute olive oil as your cooking fat. I’d also add a round of mushrooms, just to give the dish an extra savory note. —Cristina Sciarra

  • Serves 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 bunch (3-4) spring onions
  • 1 head spring garlic
  • 1 small bunch asparagus
  • 1.5 cups sugar snap peas
  • kosher salt, black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup minced chives
  • 1/2 cup fresh ricotta
  • hot sauce (optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Cut the bacon into lardons, and then move the lardons to a wide, cast-iron pan. Cook them over medium heat, until the bacon is fairly crispy; remove them to a plate. Drain off (and reserve) a little more than half the bacon fat.
  2. Cut the potatoes into a small dice. Move them to the cast-iron pan, and cook until the potatoes are soft on the inside, but crisp-ish on the outside, about 20 minutes. (Add a little more bacon fat to the pan if they start to stick.) You will get a better color on the potatoes if you don’t move them around too much in the pan. When the potatoes are finished, remove them to a plate.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the spring onions thinly and crosswise. Mince the spring garlic. After the potato comes out of the pan, saute both until translucent, about 4 minutes. (Add a little more bacon fat, if needed, to lubricate the pan.) Remove the alliums to a plate.
  4. Cut the asparagus spears into 1-inch long pieces. Add yet another drizzle of bacon fat to the pan, and cook the asparagus for about 5 minutes, or until they are bright green, but browned in spots. Remove to a plate.
  5. If needed, add the remaining bacon fat to the pan. Saute the sugar snap peas (either whole, or cut into pieces) for about 5 minutes, until they are crisp tender, and also lightly browned in spots.
  6. Meanwhile, chiffonade the basil, and mince the chives, if you haven’t already.
  7. Finally, move all the vegetables back to the pan, along with the bacon. Cook for another 5 minutes, just to re-warm the vegetables, and bring everything together. Adjust the seasoning, and stir in the lemon zest. Turn off the heat and stir in the fresh herbs. Dot the pan with the ricotta, and serve warm. (Or, put the ricotta on the table, and let diners choose how much they’d like. Same goes for salt, pepper, lemon zest, and hot sauce.)

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Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.