Spring has sprung into summer here in the Aloha State. The two most obvious indications of this transformation are the obvious warmer weather and lack of grueling school work. Trust me, this island is not hot 24/7 all year around. It has definitely been rainy and dreary prior to recently. only adding to my despondent state of being a few weeks ago. I guess I agree with the saying that April showers really do bring about May flowers… and in this case, asparagus. Spring and summer are wonderfully abundant seasons in terms of fruits and vegetables and I have only just realized my immense affinity for asparagus.
I never realized how versatile asparagus could be. Furthermore, I suspect that as a child I deemed asparagus as one of those wretched green vegetables important to avoid along with those other green monsters I once believed to be poisonous to my well-being as a young one. However, I could not be less correct. I have only come to realize in my more recent years that asparagus along with those other so-called “green monsters” actually contribute to my well-being and surprisingly taste fabulous. Heck, green’s even one of my favorite colors!
I knew as soon as I saw this recipe and the corresponding pictures that I absolutely had to make it. It was instantly catalyzing during my time of stressful madness. Well, it honestly kept me sane during my last couple finals. The thought of making something so simple yet nutritious and unbelievably appetizing ignited a flicker of hope within me that burst into a full flame of passion toward the end of the school week.
I actually made it as a celebratory brunch post-final exams. Sounds appropriate doesn’t it? A hash for the hashed. Exhausted as I may have been, making this was as rejuvenating as ever. Even the sun decided to shine more only further restoring my effervescent attitude. Good food and good company, the epitome of a perfect day.
What’s truly great about this dish is that it’s extremely flexible. It can be a meal for breakfast, lunch and yes, even dinner! Plus, you can add whatever other ingredients you want. For example, I used bacon in my hash, but the original recipe used pancetta. A hash is basically a muddle of things and you can throw in and top it off with whatever you fancy. I even served it with Hawaiian sweet bread rolls, my favorite!
So, without further ado, let me give you the recipe (and key) to happiness, at least for one day or one meal.
Spring Asparagus Hash
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1/4 pound bacon (or a little more, if you’d like), cut into 1/4 in. slices
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1 small yellow onion, chopped small
1/2 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch segments
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheese, optional
4-8 fried eggs, depending on how much you like eggs (8 for us because we’re egg whores)
Heat a 12-inch cast iron frying pan (or whatever you’ve got) over medium heat. Fry the bacon pieces until crisp. Remove and drain it on paper towels. Leave the heat on and the renderings in the pan. (With a well-seasoned cast iron, this should be all the fat you need to cook the remainder of the hash. If you’re not using a cast iron, you might need to add a tablespoon or so of oil; if you’ve skipped the pork, you’ll want to start with 2 tablespoons oil.)
Add the potatoes and don’t move them for a couple minutes. Use this time to season them well with salt and pepper. Once they’ve gotten a little brown underneath, begin flipping and turning them, then letting them cook again for a few minutes. The idea is not to fight them off the frying pan, once they’ve gotten a little color, it’s easier to flip them and you’ve gotten closer to your goal of getting them evenly browned.
When the potatoes are about three-fourths as crisped and brown as you’d like them — this takes about 15 minutes — add the onion. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the asparagus, cover the pan and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until crisply cooked. (Skinny asparagus will take just 5 minutes; thicker asparagus will take longer.) Remove the lid, return the bacon bits to the pan for another minute, to reheat. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Top with fried eggs. Serve immediately.