Asparagus Pancetta Faux-tata

Yesterday was Julia Child's Birthday. That sassy tall number of a woman would have been 100.

But before I can tell you how I celebrated Julia's day, I feel like I need to close the book on the best brunch that there ever was.

Here's what I served:
  • Fruit Salad (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, watermelon)
  • Lavender Scones with lemon curd
  • Asparagus Pancetta Faux-tata
  • Cold brewed Iced Coffee 
So, I've told you about making the lemon curd and the lavender scones. But the last fun piece was a "frittata". I put it in quotes because I'm pretty sure this is just a fancy breakfast casserole with a whole bunch of egg. Don't let that dumbed down description make you think it wasn't delish .... because it more certainly was.

Here's what I wanted to make. An egg dish that would be easy to serve, would include some meat, and wouldn't heat the living bejesus out of my apartment. See it's still summer in Boston and it's just plain ole not polite to invite people over for a fun brunch and hand them towels to catch their sweat drips. After doing some research here are a few of the "egg" type dishes you could make:
  • frittata: primarily egg based. no crust required. cooked on the stovetop first, then finished in the oven.
  • quiche: custard base (eggs plus heavy cream) comes with a crust normally. cooked in the oven.
  • "other": potentially more of a casserole. throw some bread in there. generally heartier.
I'm not totally sure where this dish ends up. I'll let you be the judge but it's probably closer to a frittata minus the whole stovetop business.

I think the best part about this type of dish is that you can do whatever your heart desires. I quite literally have no idea how much pancetta, asparagus, or onion I used. It's all up to you. Just pick your favorite ingredients and toss them in the dish and have at it. I wasn't polite enough to make a vegetarian section but you totally could have, which is in a win in my book. 

This also makes amazing leftovers so I was super pumped when my guests announced they were full and I had two slices leftover for the remainder of the week.

So here's how you make an asparagus pancetta "faux-tata"

(Step 1) I chopped up my onion and pancetta and tossed them in a skillet with a smidge of olive oil. Pancetta  didn't give off a lot of fat but it gave off enough to protect the onions from getting too well done. 

(Step 2) Once the pancetta is just about crisp, toss in the cut up asparagus. If you want to get fancy with you asparagus cutting, well have at it. I just cut it up and tossed it in. Pretty sure nobody will notice how you cut the green stuff.

(Step 3) Give the whole mixture a good stir for a minute. You just want to remove a bit of the crunch from the asparagus not cook it all the way through since it's going into the egg dish. 

(Step 4) In a bowl, crack up a 11-12 eggs. My pan was slightly smaller than 13x7 so I went with 11 but I honestly don't think it would have made that much difference. Add in the milk. I would estimate I went with 1/4 cup but it's flexible. Give the whole thing a good whisk. Note: Pancetta is super salty so I didn't add any salt here, but if you don't use pancetta toss in some salt and pepper at this point.

(Step 5) Lightly grease your pan and layer in the asparagus mixture. Liberally add cheese on top of the mixture. Pretend you are making a lasagna. Don't go crazy but be generous.

(Step 6) Pour the eggs over all the business in the pan.

(Step 7) Toss into the oven at 400 F for about 45 minutes. The top/crust will puff up and become a golden brown. I treated it like brownies and stuck a knife in there to see if the center was still liquid-y.

Now eat it. And hopefully your guests will also leave you a slice to mow on mid-week.

Shopping List
12 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1 1/2 cups diced pancetta
1 bunch of asparagus chopped
1 small onion diced
1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese

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