A delicious springtime vegetable, asparagus is nutritious and versatile. When selecting a bunch, look for thin stems and tightly packed tips. Asparagus loses a good deal of its nutrition once it’s picked, so try to eat it quickly. If you’re unable to enjoy your “grass” that day, treat it like a flower bouquet: cut half an inch off the bottom and place it in a glass with a few inches of cool water. Cover the tips with a damp towel, wrap in a plastic produce bag, and refrigerate.
Fiber-rich asparagus can be roasted, grilled, sautéed, or even eaten raw. This recipe calls for it to be blanched in boiling water and then plunged into an ice bath. Be aware, although asparagus is very low-calorie, it’s often combined with dressing, melted butter, or olive oil. This salad’s richness comes from the dressing and bacon, so moderate your portion appropriately.
- 1 extra-large organic egg yolk
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (contains anchovy)
- 1 small garlic clove, finely grated or mashed
- A dash of Tabasco (or pinch of cayenne pepper)
- Juice from one lemon (two Tbsp.)
Place the egg yolk into a small, but wide, stainless bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil in a steady stream (anchor the bowl by wrapping a damp kitchen towel around the base). Once the oil is incorporated, whisk in the remaining ingredients, one at a time. Add lemon juice to your taste.
- 3-4 strips of thick-sliced bacon
- 1 cup of cubed French bread
- 1 lb. of asparagus
- 1 oz. freshly grated Parmesan/Romano cheese
- 1 lemon, sliced into wedges
Fry bacon strips until crispy, drain on paper towels, and then break into bite-sized pieces. Reserve leftover bacon fat. Fry cubed French bread in the bacon fat and dust with garlic powder while frying. Add salt and black pepper, then drain on paper towels. Break off and discard the tough bottom portion of the stems then simmer asparagus in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and immediately plunge into ice water to stop from cooking. Drain again and roll asparagus in a clean kitchen towel to dry. Cut into 2-inch lengths.
In a bowl, toss asparagus with bacon, croutons, cheese, and most of the dressing. On a large plate or platter, use a spoon to drag/drizzle the remaining dressing around the edge to form a decorative circle of bright yellow dressing. Carefully pile the salad inside the circle. Place lemon wedges on the side.
*Suggestions: Make it a meal by adding chilled seafood like shrimp, scallops, or salmon. Use warm grilled chicken or beef if you prefer. To reduce the calorie count, try toasting the croutons in a hot oven instead of frying, reduce or eliminate the bacon strips, and cut back on the cheese.
Serving size: 4 generous servings