Wandering the stalls of your local farmer’s market this weekend, you’re sure to come across bundles of asparagus, one of the first tender veggies to grace the spring produce scene. There are many ways to prepare these slender stalks, but like so many green veggies, asparagus is quite happy to be snuggled up with some bacon and sent to the oven for a quick roast. If you’re enjoying the mellow weather too much to come indoors, there are also directions in this recipe to make these savory bundles on the grill.
These bacon-wrapped asparagus would make a great main dish at a spring brunch topped with a fried egg, or as a side dish with a ham or poultry entree at Easter Dinner. For best results, at the market be sure to pick bright green stalks with firm stems and green or violet tips that are closed. Prep the stalks by snapping off the woody ends and giving them a good rinse.
Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus Bundles
- 1 ½ pounds asparagus spears, trimmed 4-5 inches long
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices center-cut bacon or pancetta
- Chives or scallions, chopped, for garnish (optional)
Lightly coat asparagus spears in extra-virgin olive oil. Season the asparagus with black pepper.
Take a quick count of the spear tips. Divide the total number by four. Gather that number of spears and use a slice of bacon to wrap the bundle and secure the spears together. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
To grill, place the bundles on a hot grill and cover. Cook 10-12 minutes until bacon is crisp and asparagus bundles are tender.
For oven preparation, place bundles on slotted broiler pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 4ooF, or until bacon is cooked through.
Photos by Nicholas Gang