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PANCHARAGUS

Pancharagus

I needed a seasonal dish that was really quick, with which I could feed passers-by. It’s a bit pricy out of season, but, oh, so good.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 5 minutes
You’ll need a hot griddle pan.

Ingredients
Buy quantities to suit
Asparagus
Panchetta
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

When cooking with asparagus you need to break away the woody part at the bottom of the stem. It’s easy, just hold the ends of the spear in either hand and bend until it snaps.  It will snap naturally where the woody part ends. 

Don’t throw those woody bits away, but boil them in a litre of water with a few whole peppercorns and a halved onion for a tasty vegetable stock – ideal for risottos or soups.

I’ve tried this recipe using Parma ham once when I couldn’t get my hands on pancetta. It didn’t work as well as there wasn’t enough natural fat in the ham. The fat from the pancetta really helps the cooking process and makes all the difference. Wafer thin slices of streaky bacon are a better alternative.  Pancharagus always seems to go down well at Guyrope Gourmet cookery demonstrations – it really is a simple luxury.


Get cooking...
So, come on – it’s time to treat your friends and family. 

All you do is carefully wrap a slice of pancetta around the asparagus and cook for two or three minutes on a very hot griddle pan, remembering to roll the pancharagus so that the pancetta browns all round. Season with black pepper and dip in a good mayonnaise. 

Serve up with a glass of chilled light fizz or a Pimms cocktail.