Last night we were running home late, and on the drive home I was thinking about what I would make for dinner that could be on the table in about 5 minutes. I remembered the fresh asparagus I’d picked up from Trader Joe’s as well as the container of pancetta, cubed and ready to use. Why not combine them in a hearty egg scramble – no reason to have egg dishes limited to breakfast and brunch. The crisp-tender asparagus and the pancetta were a winning combination with the moist scrambled eggs. Some fresh multigrain bread went perfectly on the side but I think that even garlic bread would also go really well with this Italian-themed creation.
Here, I used Trader Joe’s pancetta which is conveniently diced into tiny little mini-cubes. Pancetta is a cured Italian bacon but without the smoky flavor. It’s terrific in egg scrambles or omelettes and it’s so nice not to mess with the cutting and dicing. If you like pasta, it’s a perfect (and authentic) fit with Spaghetti Alla Carbonara.
Few dishes are simpler to make than an egg scramble, and it’s a great way to make use of any vegetables or leftovers you have in the fridge or freezer. Add sun dried tomatoes, olives, and goat cheese, with some fresh basil sprinkled on top. Or scramble up a Mexican version with diced chorizo and red bell pepper, with salsa and cheese added on top. In the same way a pizza is limitless in creative possibilities, so are eggs.
The poor egg has been vilified in years past, mostly because of misconceptions about how blood cholesterol is affected by cholesterol in foods. Nowadays, eggs have redeemed themselves and are considered an important part of a healthy diet, in moderation. They’re high in protein (just the whites have 4g of protein and only 16 calories!) They contain healthy unsaturated fats and are high in choline, which has been linked with preserving memory, and lutein and zeaxanthin, which may protect against vision loss. If you do have special considerations regarding cholesterol (such as diabetes), you can use less yolks or just the whites in many recipes.
Pancetta and Asparagus Scramble
The trick to cooking moist eggs is to cook them slowly over low or medium heat. Cooking them quickly over high heat is really only good for creating a chewy futuristic polymer – it makes eggs very rubbery. I didn’t add salt to this dish because the pancetta has plenty for me, but you may want to check the seasonings and adjust to your tastes. Serve with bread or plate over a bed of greens such as spinach or a spring mix.
- 8 eggs
- 1 (4-oz) container Pancetta minicubes
- A dozen slender stalks of asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch lengths
- Black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan to sprinkle on top, optional
- In a medium bowl, add the eggs and whisk until combined. Set aside.
- In a skillet or omelette pan over high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and the pancetta cubes, and give a stir. Very little oil is necessary as the pancetta will provide some. Add the asparagus and continue sauteéing for a couple of minutes until the pancetta begins to look crisp.
- Reduce the heat to low and pour in the eggs slowly. Move the eggs around until they are just cooked, moist, creamy, and tender. I usually remove the pan from the burner near the end and let the residual heat of the pan finish the cooking. Add pepper to taste.