When it comes to gardening in small spaces, there comes a point where you have to admit that you simply can't grow it all, and certain things just get ruled out. For me, one of those things is asparagus.
I have not started an asparagus patch in my garden or yard for a number of reasons. First, we haven't been able to identify a good spot to dedicate to an asparagus patch. I know that sounds like a lame excuse, but it's the truth. It's also a substantial investment in time, as it takes several years to establish the asparagus before harvest can begin (and if I'm going to put that time in, I'd like it to be at a house where we plan to stay long enough to reap the benefits). But the main reason we haven't been in a hurry to resolve the first two reasons, is that we have access to all the homegrown asparagus we can eat from my parents' farm.
Every time we see my mom in the spring, we can pretty much count on being offered a share of the asparagus harvest, and this year in particular, the asparagus is in no short supply. I can tell that my mom isn't kidding when she says that it's been a good year for asparagus - typically, our first share of the harvest is comparable to an average-sized bunch you'd find at the grocery store, but this year, we went home with a gallon bag full of asparagus (and this is well before anyone has had a chance to get tired of asparagus at every meal). With a bumper crop of asparagus on the farm this year, the possibilities are endless!
Towards the end of the garden season last year, I saw a lot of blog posts about cute little bundles of green beans wrapped in bacon, and while I never even bothered to pin to the recipe (or give it much more thought since then), for some reason that's the first thing that came to my mind as I was staring at my asparagus haul, trying to figure out what to make for dinner last night. Turns out, a bundle of asparagus wrapped in a slice bacon is delicious. And because asparagus season is so short in comparison, I'd even go so far as to say it is better than the green beans could ever be.
As far as recipes go, it doesn't get much easier than this. All said and done, it took me all of 20 minutes from start to finish. My favorite thing about these bundles is that the tips get deliciously crispy, almost mimicking that crispy, rendered bacon texture, while the part that's under the bacon is perfectly tender and firm. They're pretty perfect all on their own, but also equally satisfying with an egg and a hearty piece of whole grain toast (and now I kind of want to make up an excuse to host a spring brunch!).
Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Bundles
6 asparagus spears per serving (aproximate, adjust according to spear size as necessary)
1 slice of bacon per serving
Fresh ground pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
Clean and trim asparagus spears (if some spears are really thick, cut in half lengthwise for more uniform size and cooking). Divide spears into bundles of about 6 spears a piece on a foil-lined baking sheet. Wrap each bundle with one slice of bacon in the middle; secure by tucking the ends of the bacon underneath the asparagus. Lightly drizzle or brush the asparagus that remains exposed with a little olive oil. Sprinkle each bundle with a pinch of seas salt, fresh ground pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Bake for 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
Labels: asparagus, recipes