french fridays with dorie: asparagus and bits of bacon
To me, asparagus means spring has arrived. Local asparagus where I live doesn’t arrive until late spring, early June, usually, but with Easter this weekend, asparagus is abundant at the store this week, and on sale.
The recipe for French Fridays with Dorie this week is Asparagus with Bits of Bacon. This was a relatively simple side dish. Boiled asparagus tossed in a light citrusy dressing and topped with bacon and onion. Whoa!
When I cook asparagus, it’s usually steamed in the microwave and served plain, so this was much fancier. This recipe said to boil the asparagus in salted water, so I followed suit. I have to admit that the asparagus spears stayed a nice bright green and looked prettier than when they’re microwaved, so I’ll have to remember that.
The bacon is fried until crisp, and then chopped into bits. Then, you warm chopped onion and the bacon bits in some of the bacon fat. You aren’t supposed to cook the onion, but I really didn’t like the flavor of raw onion, so I just let the onion bits soften completely. The only bacon I could find was maple-flavored. I was nervous the final dish would have an off flavor, but it wasn’t noticeable.
Of course, the dilemma for me is always was to serve with the side, especially on with so much personality. The asparagus, with all the bacon, could almost have been the main course, I wasn’t sure how to round out the plate. I ended up going with something more traditional, leaving the bacony veggie as a side. Nigella Lawson helped me out. I had a porky meal with her Mustardy Pork Chops as the entrée, and her Rapid Roastini (sautéed gnocchi) for the starch.
I liked the asparagus, but if I made it again, I’d use less bacon to lighten it up. Otherwise, it was a nice change from plain veg.
Check out the other Dorista’s asparagus experiences here. We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. It’s definitely worth adding to your library.
Next week’s French Friday recipe is a little controversial, Sardine Rillettes. I’ll admit up front that I’m looking forward to it, but tune in next week to see if it lives up to my anticipation.