The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Warm Asparagus Salad with Crispy Pancetta

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

This warm asparagus salad is super easy yet so delicious. A great side that can easily be transformed into a satisfying main with the addition of char-grilled chicken breasts or by adding some pasta.

There is just something magical about roasted asparagus it brings out a nice smoky flavour that is wonderful with the salty pancetta and the mustard thyme vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams Flat Pancetta
  • 5 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Divided
  • 500 grams Asparagus
  • ¼ cups Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Thyme

Preparation

Cut pancetta into small dice (6x6x6 mm or ¼ x ¼ x ¼ inch cubes).

Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add pancetta and fry until golden and crisp (approximately 3–5 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain. Do not discard the pancetta oil in the pan, we are going to use it to fry the asparagus.

Cut off woody ends from asparagus (approximately 2.5 cm or 1 inch from the bottom). Rinse well under cold water and pat dry using paper towels. Cut into 5cm or 2-inch batons, keeping the tips separate.
Heat pan with pancetta oil and first add the asparagus bottoms (you will need to do this in batches so that the pan is not overcrowded and asparagus can cook evenly). Stir fry for approximately 3 minutes until golden and tender. Repeat until all asparagus has been cooked, adding more oil as needed and leaving the tips until last as they are delicate.

Place remaining oil, lemon juice, mustard, and thyme in a glass jar and shake until emulsified.

Add all the cooked asparagus and crispy pancetta to a medium to a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over salad, season with salt and pepper and toss until asparagus is well coated with dressing. Taste salad and adjust seasonings according to taste.

Arrange in a salad bowl or salad platter and serve.

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