I found inspiration for this dish from Food52! This is a great website with so many amazing food articles and recipes. I frequent the site for inspiration and just to gawk at delicious dishes. I like to grab inspiration from the web in general or cook books and then I use it as my "outline". Then I take the idea and maybe do the following: add to the recipe, change the cooking methods/procedures, and/or change ingredients based on preference, convenience and taste.
This dish worked perfectly for the Mediterranean style Thanksgiving I had this year with my family. It was refreshing paired with our rich lamb and a great way to incorporate a green vegetable as a side dish. The only annoying part of this dish is soaking the leeks, but you can do this ahead of time! Then it only takes around 25-30 minutes to cook this side dish on the stove. Not only I this dish a great Thanksgiving side, it is also an easy side to serve on a weeknight with the family. Hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!
Serves: 6-8 as a side
1 - 4oz package pancetta
2 Bundles of Asparagus - cut on 1/2 inch diagonal
1 Bundle (2 leeks total) - cut off the root bottom and thinly slice up until the leaves.
3/4 cup Chopped Walnuts
1 tsp Lawry’s Lemon Pepper
1/2 tsp Granulated Garlic Powder
The Juice of 1/2 of a Lemon
The Zest of 1 Small Orange
3 Garlic Cloves- minced
1 tbsp Butter
1. Soak your thinly sliced leeks in water to clean for at least 15 minutes. You will need to dump and fill the water 2-3 times to ensure all of the dirt is removed. Drain the leeks and set aside for later.
2. While the leeks are soaking, add the pancetta to a large skillet and turn your heat to medium high. Cook until crispy (around 4-5 min, stirring occasionally).
3. Add 1 tbsp butter, let it melt, and then add the asparagus and the drained leeks.
4. Stir to uniformly mix the pancetta into the asparagus and leek mixture. Cook for around 10 min or until the asparagus are tender, stirring occasionally.
5. While the asparagus mixture is cooking, in a separate small skillet, pour in your walnuts and turn your heat on medium low. Cook for 10 min. or until toasted, stirring occasionally.
6. Add the garlic to the large pan with the asparagus and cook for 2 min, stirring frequently.
7. Turn the large pan on low and add the toasted nuts, orange zest, lemon pepper and lemon juice.
8. Stir to combine and serve immediately in a pretty bowl :).