This recipe for Asparagus with Lemon-Bacon Vinaigrette is from 100 Grilling Recipes You Can’t Live Without: A Lifelong Companion, cookbook by Cheryl and Bill Jamison.
Authors Cheryl and Bill Jamison on Asparagus with Lemon-Bacon Vinaigrette:
You can cook asparagus in a variety of ways, but to us, no other cooking method beats grilling. Put the result together with an updated version of an old-fashioned bacon vinaigrette and you’ve got a splendid side for almost any main course. This should be a top-100 grill dish on everybody’s list of favorites.
For me, the only hard part about coming up with a main dish to grill is choosing among all the possibilities. But a side dish?? I tend to rely on a limited number of standards: corn on the cob, potatoes, veggies either on kabobs or in foil packets. So my “test” for this cookbook was whether I’d find a winner for a new side dish. And yes, I did. We’ve grilled asparagus before, but this recipe added tastes that moved the veggie to stellar status: a tangy vinaigrette topped off with salty, smoky bacon. (In the process, we discovered some amazing Herbes de Provence bacon at AJ’s Fine Foods. OMG! THIS is why people go bacon-crazy. Now I understand.)
The only hard part in planning my next grilling-out menu will be to find a main dish that won’t be overshadowed by this shining-star side. Let’s see: Grilled Duck Breasts with Armagnac and Lavender Honey? A Porterhouse from Heaven? Berghoff’s Chicago Beer Burgers? I think 100 Grilling Recipes You Can’t Live Without has more than a few ideas…
Asparagus with Lemon-Bacon Vinaigrette
Featured Recipe From: 100 Grilling Recipes You Can't Live Without: A Lifelong Companion
Yield: Serves 4 as a side dish
1 to 1 1/4 pounds asparagus spears, preferably pencil-thin, woody ends trimmed
2 slices bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1. To prepare the vinaigrette, first fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain the bacon with a slotted spoon and crumble it, reserving both the bacon and the drippings. Remove the skillet from the heat, but while still hot, whisk the oil, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, the sugar, and salt into the bacon drippings. Taste and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice if needed to balance the dressing.
2. Spoon out 2 to 3 teaspoons of the dressing and rub it evenly over the asparagus.
3. Fire up the grill, bringing the temperature to medium (4 to 5 seconds with the hand test).
4. Transfer the asparagus to the grill, placing them perpendicular to the bars of the grate, with the stem ends over the hottest part of the fire and the tips out toward a cooler edge. Grill, uncovered, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes for thin spears or 6 to 8 minutes for thicker spears, rolling the asparagus frequently to cook on all sides.
5. Serve the asparagus hot or chilled on a long platter, with the remaining vinaigrette drizzled over it and the crumbled bacon scattered over the top.
© 2013 Cheryl and Bill Jamison
Reprinted with permission from 100 Grilling Recipes You Can't Live Without: A Lifelong Companion by Cheryl and Bill Jamison (Harvard Common Press). All rights reserved.