Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

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Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Fresh asparagus is one of my favorite signs of spring. This salad is a fabulous, no fuss way to enjoy it. Whip it up when you start cooking dinner, then let the flavors happily meld together while you finish preparing the rest of your meal.

Asparagus and bacon are a match made in heaven.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad


For this dish, I fried a little smokey Black Forest bacon, then caramelized bits of shallot in the sumptuous fat left behind. The asparagus took a quick spin in the pan (long enough to cook it through—but not make it mushy).

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Crispy Black Forest bacon

The crispy bacon chips add texture, salt, and a nice crunch. A finishing squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightens up the asparagus and rounds out the flavors nicely.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

I made this with a few pieces Black Forest bacon from Whole Foods (look for it in the butcher’s case). If you can’t find it, you can totally use regular bacon with great results. The Black Forest bacon is extra smokey and just a tiny bit sweet.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Black Forest bacon from Whole Foods

I won’t lie. This stuff is seriously good. I made it the other night when we had a friend over for dinner. It took a valiant act of hostessing to share.

A note on asparagus

When buying asparagus, look for stalks that are on the thinner side, with nice, tight heads.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

You can totally leave the asparagus whole for a slightly fancier presentation. I cut my stalks in a few pieces.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Always trim off and discard the ends of the stalks, which can be woody.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

4 slices Black Forest bacon (or regular bacon)
1/2 a shallot, peeled and chopped
about 1 lb. asparagus, cut into pieces
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
juice from 1/2 a lemon

Serves 4 as a side dish

Crisp up the bacon

Line a medium-sized bowl with a few paper towels and set it aside.

Chop up the bacon.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Put it in a nonstick pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Spread it out, so that each piece can brown.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Cook like this for maybe 5 minutes.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Stir the bacon occasionally.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

You want it to get nice and crisp.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

When it looks about like this, it’s just about done.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Scoop the bacon out of the pan with a slotted spoon. Transfer it to your paper towel-lined bowl. Set it aside for a minute while you deal with the veggies.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Caramelize the shallots

Toss your chopped shallot into the bacon fat that remains in the pan. (If there’s a lot of it, drain a little off if you like.)

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Keep the heat on medium-high, and saute the shallots for a few minutes. Give them a stir to coat in bacon fat.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

You want them to become translucent…

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

…and then start to brown nicely.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Saute the asparagus

Grab your cut asparagus.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Add it to the pan with the shallots and bacon fat. Toss on a little kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Give it a good stir to coat the asparagus. Cook like this, stirring occasonally, for 3-4 minutes. Keep the heat on medium-high. The whole dish comes together pretty quickly.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

After 3-4 minutes, the asparagus should be cooked through—or darn close to it. Poke it with a fork or the tip of a knife to check. Cook it to the tenderness you like. I prefer mine with a little bit of bite still left in it, so I usually yank it off the stove sooner, rather than later.

Finish the salad, serve, and enjoy!

When the asparagus is cooked to your liking, add the crisp bacon back to the pan.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Give it a stir to combine. Squeeze a half a lemon over the pan. (Yank out any lemon seeds you may see.) Give it all a stir to combine.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and set it aside on the counter. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Warm & Smokey Asparagus Salad

Or, you know, serve it immediately if you can’t wait. Enjoy!

 

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

48 COMMENTS

  1. This looks seriously good. I applaud you for your hostess efforts. I would have eaten the whole thing myself. I like to wrap asparagus with prosciutto before roasting, but I think I am going to like this one even more. I love asparagus. I love bacon. Who the hell wouldn’t like this?

  2. This sounds like a great salad to try on my German born Thumper.Although I am sure it is a product name.The Black Forrest does have a smoked bacon and ham.
    Awesome girl keep them coming.
    Have to tell you: love the eggplant fries!!!!

  3. Bacon in anything is delicious. I love the simplicity of this dish — bacon for salt and smoke, shallots for a mild onion flavor, lemon for brightness and freshness, and of course, asparagus for its crunch and flavor (and color). Beautifully done!!

  4. That. Looks. Wicked. Good. I love asparagus, something I just found out about myself recently. Next time I buy some I’m definitely making this.

  5. First of all, can I just say, I LOVE that you use cast iron pans! None of the other cooking blogs I sometimes check out (yours is the only one I really follow) does that.

    I love cast iron pans too!

    Second: this looks sooo good! I love asparagus 🙂 I’m also thinking of converting this into a quiche – yum, onion asparagus and bacon… 🙂

    • Oh thanks, honey pie! 😀 Yeah, you can’t beat cast iron for most things (plus, most brands are so inexpensive, compared to good stainless). I have a few unusual pots, too…I’ll drag some of ’em out and snap some photos when I reseason my pan.

      And, OMG…quiche! You’re a genius! Let me know if you do?

      +Jessie

  6. two flawless ingredients. great job at the step by step photography. i can almost taste it! this is wonderful timing considering that pencil thin asparagus will start popping up in the local markets here in Georgia. our farmers have had some good luck growing asparagus and it’s nice to get it close to home. thanks for the recipe idea.

  7. I’ve got bacon, asparagus, shallots and lemons in the fridge. I know one thing I’m making tonight! A quick questiondo you think quickly blanching the asparagus would add anything? I agree with you that cooking for a short time to keep it on the crunchy side is good.

    • Oh, fabulous! So sorry for the delayed reply. I think the asparagus cooks just fine in the pan. I mean, you certainly *could* blanch it, then sautee it, but I’m not sure what it would add. Let me know how you like it!

      +Jessie

  8. My sister just emailed me asking what I wanted to bring on Easter. This looks like a perfect dish for our gathering. I wonder if the bacon is too much with the ham she is getting??? Too much pork or is there such a thing?

  9. oh my-we are lovers of asparagus and bacon so this one is going to be made this weekend. By the way, I am running a great contest involving PEEPS. http//:savorthethyme.blogspot.com

  10. I just burnt this up tonight!Tweaked a little bit. Substituted turkey bacon and a dash of jalapeno pepper. Tasty, but i might’ve overdid it with the bacon. I was supposed to make a double batch but only doubled the bacon. I found out too late that I only had 1 bunch of asparagus. I’m washing it down with a Guinness so all is forgiven.
    Gonna’ try again tomorrow and follow the recipe. That’s tough for me, ya’ know.

  11. […] There’s some other things you need to know.  Market starts at 9:00 am NEXT WEEK and Local ASPARAGUS ins here this weekend and in honor of Cinco de Mayo, we will be giving away cute little bags of Betty’s chips to 50 lucky customers!  I’ve got to be frank with you – the new Harris Teeter has taken away some of our business.  We understand the convenience of the THREE grocery store chains in our little town and I shop there for things that I can’t get at the market.  And quite franklu, Harris Teeter does have fantastic customer service.  BUT DON’T FORGET ABOUT US!!!  We can’t survive without your support. Here’s a reason to skip the grocery store tomorrow and come to market:   Kilmer Orchards and Diaz Produce will have asparagus tomorrow.  When you come to makret to get your asparagus, you will be getting asparagus that is picked TODAY.  It won’t be sitting in a walk-in cooler for a week or two, going from mega-farm to central warehouse and then trucked to grocery stores when they put in their order to the warahouse.  This asparagus is as fresh as you can get it, unless you grow some in your backyard! Check out this yummy, easy, step-by-step recipe for Warm and Smokey Asparagus Salad with bacon (use Lothar’s of course) and shallots.  These pictures are divine! They are on the blog called The Hungry Mouse.http://www.thehungrymouse.com/2009/03/24/warm-smokey-asparagus-salad/ […]

  12. Wow! This sounds fantastic! Can’t wait to try this simple salad!
    Check out my newly redesigned blog when you can; just got my Facebook page for it up today, if you like what you see please like my FB page. I share so many of my great recipes and travel, outdoor adventures.
    Happy blogging!

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