Food & Wine (May 2008)
Our friends Will and Haven recently left D.C. for the other Washington. Before they moved, though, they said they wanted to cook something for The Bitten Word. For their Going Away Dinner, we wanted a meal that was delicious, of course, but also fun for a group to make together.
We had them over last week, on a positively gorgeous Thursday evening -- late spring in D.C. is one of the most glorious times of year anywhere (take that, Seattle!). We settled on a light, refreshing Italian menu that showcased some delicious in-season vegetables.
The meal could not have gotten off to a better start, with this appetizer of Pancetta-Wrapped Asparagus with Citronette.
You must, must, must make this asparagus the next time you're cooking for a crowd. It's the simplest, most delicious appetizer possible. We've already found one asparagus recipe we really like, but this dish has one key advantage -- pancetta.
It couldn't be simpler to make -- wrap the asparagus in pancetta, throw it in the fridge, have a glass of wine, take it out and grill it. The combo of flavors is absolutely delicious -- the salty, crispy pancetta with the smooth, sweet citronette and the spring-y crunch of the asparagus.
The next time we make this dish, we'll be sure to seek out thinly thinly sliced pancetta. If anything, the packaged pancetta we purchased was too thick, but regardless, the taste was amazing.
And Will and Haven are now both aces with a microplane!
Pancetta-Wrapped Asparagus with Citronette
Food & Wine (May 2008)
(This photo: Food & Wine)
* 2 pounds medium asparagus
* 1/2 pound very thinly sliced pancetta
* Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
* 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1. Tightly wrap each asparagus spear in a slice of pancetta and refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.
2. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, stir the orange zest and juice with the mustard and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill the asparagus over moderate heat, turning often, until they are just tender and the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the asparagus to a platter and drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle with the thyme and serve.