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potato asparagus and pancetta salad

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Potato salad with asparagus and pancetta

I’m really not sure what the deal with the ‘only three ingredients!’ recipes is. Or only four or five for that matter - the authors of those seem to take pride in putting together as few foodstuffs as possible. Seriously? Why? It’s not like a short recipe has significant benefits because you'll have to memorise it before trying to execute it. Fine, there are things wonderful made with only flour and water but that’s bread. And ‘only 3 ingredients’ does not equal easy. See mayo: oil and egg. Easy? Like hell it is.

Some dishes only take a handful of ingredients just because nothing else is needed and I’m not punching below the belt by taking roast meats as an example (roast beef = beef + salt + pepper + oven). Rugelach pastry, one of my favourites, only has flour, butter and cream cheese in it, and I hear there’s scone/biscuit (depending which side of the Atlantic you are on) dough made only with flour and cream.

Likewise, there are tonnes of things where a large number of assorted components are just thrown together and stirred about a bit. So there’s complex and there’s complicated, in a nutshell.

My scientific discourse all goes out of the window when it’s the end of the week and I open the fridge to find but three or four (miserable looking) things - then, with my tail between my legs, I’m in need of a three-ingredient-recipe. This is one of those - of course I’ve cheated because you can clearly see 9 ingredients below, but please: salt and pepper, lemon or butter don’t count because you need them ALWAYS, so I insist: a 3 ingredient recipe and a damn good one too.

potato asparagus and pancetta salad


INGREDIENTS

  • For 2 people
  • 500g new potatoes, washed and scrubbed
  • 150g pancetta (about 10 rashers)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • a bunch of asparagus
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ lemon
  • a few sprigs of dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped chives
  • 2-3 tbsp. grated Parmesan
Parmesan, pancetta, asparagus


METHOD

Halve the bigger potatoes and put them in a pan of salty water. Boil until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet or a wok fry the pancetta slices in batches until crisp on both sides. Drain on paper towels but leave the fat in the wok.

Wash the asparagus and break off the woody ends, chop them into 3cm long pieces. Add a little butter to the pan with the pancetta fat and heat it up, fry the asparagus tossing them often for about 3 minutes, until they start to colour.

Cooking pancetta and asparagusAdd this point you can decide whether to serve the salad cold - in that case just toss all the ingredients in a large bowl, season generously with salt and pepper, add the herbs and sprinkle with Parmesan.

If you’d like it warm, add the cooked potatoes to the wok when asparagus are almost ready, together with half the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper and add some dill and chives. When the potatoes start to colour - which is really thanks to the Parmesan - stir in the pancetta rashers. Serve sprinkled with more herbs and Parmesan.

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