Asparagus Sticks Make Easy Party Food

Asparagus Sticks

These Asparagus Sticks qualify as a category of food I call tidbits and noshy things. Which basically means party food. Everyone should have a few basic recipes that will make a cocktail party feel posh. Sesame Pancetta Asparagus Sticks have the panache to make any party feel posh. Because if you’re having a few friends in for a quick drink and a nibble you don’t want to have to hire a caterer and you certainly don’t want to resort to frozen tidbits and noshy things. Trust me, I know those baby empanadas from Trader Joe’s seem like a good idea– they may even be delicious. But everyone goes to Trader Joe’s and you will never convince a soul that you spent any time at all trying to make your guests feel special.

Of course I realize that the allure of those TJ ‘s frozen tidbits and noshy things is the fact that they’re so easy. There I said it…

I usually roll my eyes when cooks harp on the phrase “it’s so easy”. Making it seem like being easy all by itself is the only information I need to rush right home and start using cherry Jell‑O in a perfectly silly recipe for chocolate mousse. Besides chocolate mousse is already easy without the questionable addition of cherry Jell‑O.

My usual backhanded retort in times like these is: “It’s so easy because you are such a good cook”.  I know it sounds like I am being rancorous, but I smile when I say it. So people usually let it go with a chuckle (you are chuckling, right?).

Anyway, here I go. I’m going to start this elegant looking recipe for Sesame Pancetta Asparagus Sticks with the phrase: “It’s so easy”. 

Which doesn’t make me a hypocrite (exactly). It just means that I recognize that there is a time and a place for easy recipes. Parties are one of those times. My rule is, it should go from refrigerator to mouth in 20 minutes or less. The other thing about party food is it should be as easy to eat as it is to make. So I give bonus points if the recipe can be served at room temperature, without a plate and can be eaten with your fingers. Not too many guests can juggle a plate, fork and cocktail glass successfully– let alone with panache. GREG

Asparagus Sticks

Sesame Pancetta Asparagus Sticks 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4–6Source Inspired by Chef Dan BarberPublished
sesame asparagus sticks


  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • 12 asparagus spears (trimmed to 5‑inches)
  • 12 slice pancetta
  • 2 cup vegetable oil (or more for frying depending on the size of vessel)
  • coarse sea salt (such as Maldon)
  • 12 bamboo skewers (optional)


Place the flour, eggs and sesame seeds in separate shallow bowls at least 5‑inches in diameter. Wrap each spear of asparagus with pancetta, leaving the tip exposed.

Heat the oil in medium straight-sided skillet over medium heat until it register 350 degrees F. on a deep fry or candy thermometer.

Dredge the wrapped asparagus spears in flour, shaking off the excess. Carefully roll the pancetta-wrapped section in the egg; coat that section with sesame seeds.

Fry in the hot oil until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Season with salt. Thread the spears from their bottoms lengthwise onto bamboo skewers (optional). Serve warm or at room temperature.