Now that we're finally getting settled into our apartment, we both have cars, and things are starting to feel like home - it's time to start cooking. One of the things NYC definitely has over LA are all of the delicious and affordable food options available steps away from your apartment. The delis on just about every corner of the city crank out some delicious salads and sandwiches -- that is just something that doesn't exist here. So unless I want my hips to expand at an absolutely rapid rate from all of the In-N-Out, it's time to cook. With regularity. Like an adult.
So thanks to my daily food inspiration, Smitten Kitchen, I found a delish hash recipe using pancetta instead of corned beef. I mean, let's be honest, corned beef is just so 1950's and J.P. happens to get really excited around cured meats. Granted, this is a little more weekend brunch than weeknight dinner but cooking is cooking.
Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash
Makes enough to top with four fried eggs.
1/4 pound pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 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.
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. Serve immediately. Or top off with a fried egg as everything is better with an egg on it...
Recipe and images courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.