Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash

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One of my favorite things about Spring is that asparagus is in season.  I love asparagus.  I love roasted asparagus and grilled asparagus and Tony’s pickled asparagus.  I love Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus dipped in a Saffron Aioli.

I came across this recipe from Smitten Kitchen (I know…I know…it’s an obsession…but, damn, she’s GOOD) last year and just knew it was going to be delicious.  I mean, come on…asparagus, potatoes, onion, pancetta, all topped with a fried egg??!?!?  The first time I made it Tony said it was (and I’m quoting here) the best thing he had ever effing eaten.  I didn’t change one thing. Tony fried the eggs and we topped with a little crumbled goat cheese and finely chopped chives.  Spring has sprung!

Oh boy…this just in…the new Bon Appétit came today (and you all know how happy that makes me) and there are nine asparagus recipes! Asparagus salad with gruyere and herbs…potato salad with asparagus and olives…smoked salmon and asparagus toasts…asparagus and ricotta flatbread!  Oh my my.  Can’t hardly wait!

Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash

INGREDIENTS

1/4 pound pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1 small yellow onion, chopped small
1/2 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
Salt and pepper to taste

Serving ideas: Fried eggs, dabs of goat cheese and slivers of green onions

DIRECTIONS

Heat a 12-inch cast iron frying pan over medium heat. Fry the pancetta, turning it frequently so that it browns and crisps on all sides; this takes about 10 minutes. Remove it with a slotted spoon and drain it on paper towels. Leave the heat on and the renderings in the pan. (With a well-seasoned cast iron, this should be all the fat you need to cook the remainder of the hash. If you’re not using a cast iron, you might need to add a tablespoon or so of oil.)

Add the potatoes and don’t move them for a couple minutes. Use this time to season them well with salt and pepper. Once they’ve gotten a little brown underneath, begin flipping and turning them, then letting them cook again for a few minutes. The idea is not to fight them off the frying pan, once they’ve gotten a little color, it’s easier to flip them and you’ve gotten closer to your goal of getting them evenly browned.

When the potatoes are about three-fourths as crisped and brown as you’d like them — this takes about 15 minutes — add the onion. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the asparagus, cover the pan and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until crisply cooked. (Skinny asparagus will take just 5 minutes; thicker asparagus will take longer.) Remove the lid, return the pancetta to the pan for another minute, to reheat.

Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Fry yourself a couple eggs in another pan. Gently place an egg on top of each serving of hash.  Sprinkle with a little goat cheese and chopped chives or thinly sliced green onions.  Serve immediately.

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