I love bacon, I love asparagus, and of course, I love butter! Three of my most favorite things, combined into one amazing side dish. Actually, I could eat these as my main dish. Like, ten of them. Srsly. They are very easy to make, too.
Oh my gosh, I wish I had a plate full right. now.
Here's what you'll need:
1 lb of fresh asparagus spears (enough for about 3-4 people...or maybe just one Emily)6-8 strips good bacon, uncooked. Good stuff, people.
3 tbls butter (the real deal - let's not waste time discussing margarine.)
2 large shallots, sliced thinly
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbls sugar (or sub - I use xylitol.)
2 tbls red or white wine vinegar (I've used both, and both are delish.)
salt to taste, about 1/2 tsp
Preheat the oven to 400.
First trim the asparagus spears to be even-lengths. Sometimes I do the traditional snapping one-by-one, but hey, that takes a long time and not all of them turn out the same length. Coincidentally, I watched "The Age of Asparagus" Good Eats programme a couple days after I made this, and I was nodding my head in agreement the entire time. Smart man, that Alton Brown (who happens to live in my town...not that I stalk him at Harry's or anything!)
Next, the asparagus need to be steamed for a few minutes before oven roasting, but instead of boiling a whole pot of water, I lay them in a microwave-safe dish with a splash of water, sprinkle them with a little salt and cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 3 minutes.
When they come out I immediately soak them in an ice bath, making sure to move them around so that each spear gets cooled down.
When they're all cool, drain and pat dry with paper towels. Separate the spears into even piles.
Next, lay out a strip of bacon and wrap on the diagonal, making sure that the bacon doesn't overlap too much.
Isn't that a cute little bundle?
Arrange the bundles seam-side down on a baking sheet, and put them in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the bacon crisps (you may need to put them under the broiler at the end for a minute or two to help it along.)
Meanwhile, in a small pot melt the butter and start cooking the garlic and shallots with some salt until they start getting some color.
Then add the wine vinegar and sugar, and simmer over low heat...
...until it reduces and becomes caramelized.
Quick, check your asparagus!
Whoa, that looks good all by itself. At this point I stuck them under the broiler for a minute to get the top more crispy. Watch for fire, and have your husband standing by the smoke alarm, which happens to go off every single night. I think ours has a vendetta against me and tries to make me look bad.
Plate and serve with the shallot butter sauce over the bundles.
Mmmm. This recipe would also be super excellent with broccolini, green beans or I would guess even tender carrots. The fish next to it is mahi mahi marinated in a ponzu-cilantro sauce...recipe coming!