Although in the off-season, aka the part of the year that is not summer, we are perfectly content with steamed asparagus, in warmer months we delight in lighting the grill and relishing flame-kissed tender green stalks of goodness. We then double down on the deliciousness by topping our asparagus with pancetta-shallot vinaigrette.
Grilled Asparagus in Pancetta Shallot Vinaigrette
Hiking in the hills above our Spanish house we find wild spring asparagus. We love the old men who collect handfuls and then sell them at the market for 1 euro per bundle.
- 64 asparagus stalks (approx 3 lbs)
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
Rinse the asparagus stalks and cut off the bottoms. Place approx 1/8 cup of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of salt into a zippered plastic bag. Add 1/3 of the asparagus and shake to coat evenly. Repeat 2 times. Place stalks directly on the grill for approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove and place on a serving platter, set aside and do not cover.
For the Shallot vinaigrette:
3/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup Balsamic vinegar
4 thin slices pancetta
2 small shallots
Maldon salt or Fleur de Sel
Coarse grind black pepper
Fry the pancetta in a large cast iron skillet until almost crisp, turning once. Drain on paper towels, but conserve the drippings. When cool, cut or crumble into fine dice. Finely dice shallots.
In a glass measuring cup, combine the olive oil, pan drippings, diced shallots, balsamic vinegar and diced pancetta. Stir well and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside.
Arrange the grilled asparagus on a large serving platter, drizzle the vinaigrette to evenly coat. Top with a few small pinches of Maldon Salt or Fleur de Sel and a few twists of black pepper.
Bigi Orvieto Classico, Trebbiano Grechetto Blend, Orvieto, Italy
This lovely wine from the town of Orvieto in Umbria has aromas of fresh peaches and almonds.
From THE FIRE ISLAND COOKBOOK Copyright © 2012 by The World Wine Guys, LLC published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.