Asparagus, Pea Salad with Eggs & Pancetta

This summer has been a hot one, so when I am planning our dinner during the hottest of days, I often prepare a hearty salad. I am not about you, but when the temperatures are soaring over a hundred degrees day after day, I do not even have much of an appetite! This salad is perfect for hot summer days as you can prepare the vegetables and other ingredients ahead of time in the morning when the temperatures are the coolest, and then simply assemble and dress the salad just before dinner. This salad is an excellent choice for lunch, or as a light dinner entree as we enjoyed it several times this summer. Fresh asparagus is available year round, but if you are not making the salad in the spring when fresh peas are available, frozen peas work just fine.

I always say that I like my salads to be colorful and have texture and of course flavor. I added crisp homemade croutons to the salad for crunch and dressed the salad with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette to bring out the flavor of the vegetables. Crispy pancetta bits add a salty note and diced hard-boiled eggs add the necessary protein to enjoy this salad as the main course. To make homemade croutons, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and remove crusts from stale Italian bread slices. Brush bread on both sides with olive oil, then cut into small dice. Bake for 15 minutes or until browned. Cool before using, then store in an airtight bag.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2017

Asparagus, Pea Salad with Eggs & Pancetta In A Mustardy Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound Asparagus, Tough Ends Trimmed
  • 2 Cups Frozen Small Peas
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Pancetta
  • 3 Hard Boiled Eggs
  • 1 Cup Homemade Crisp Croutons (See Notes Above)

Dressing:

  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • Juice From 1 Lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a lightly salted water to boil, then cook the asparagus until tender crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Remove the asparagus spears with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and retain the bright green color.
  3. Add the peas to the boiling water and cook a minute or two until tender crisp.
  4. Drain the peas and add these to the ice water bath as well.
  5. In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the pancetta until crisp and brown, about 5 minutes.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta and place on a plate covered with paper towels to drain the oil.
  7. Drain the asparagus and peas, then pat dry with paper towels.
  8. Arrange the asparagus and peas onto a platter, then scatter the pancetta and croutons on top.
  9. Peel the boiled eggs, then dice and scatter over the salad.
  10. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients, then drizzle the dressing over the salad.
  11. Enjoy!