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Roasted asparagus with rosemary and anchovies wrapped in pancetta
A posh-looking vegetable side dish or starter
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“Delicate asparagus with that lovely saltiness from the pancetta and anchovy is just heaven ”
4 good slices higher-welfare pancetta or dry-cured smoky bacon rashers
freshly ground black pepper
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This is a great vegetable dish, either to have for a starter or as a vegetable with chicken or fish. Having the asparagus tied together looks damn funky and all the ingredients flavour each other as they roast in the oven, which makes them taste sensational. I've used string to tie the bundles together in the picture but it's much better to use a slice of pancetta.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/gas 7. Remove the stalk ends of the asparagus by bending them and snapping where it clicks naturally. Feel free to boil your asparagus for a minute if they're not as tender as they should be. Grab 6 spears of asparagus, sandwich one of the rosemary sprigs and one of the anchovy fillets among the spears, and wrap a slice of pancetta round the middle to hold everything in place.
Make 3 more bundles the same way, and put them into a small roasting tray or pan with ½ a lemon. Drizzle with a little olive oil and roast in the preheated oven for 4 to 5 minutes, until the pancetta is crispy. Remove from the oven and squeeze over the juice of your roasted lemon. Season if need be. This will make a fantastic smoky sauce with your melted anchovies – absolutely scrumptious.