Granted it's not a question on Aristotle's scale but it is a question I ask myself every time I reach for a bundle of spears.
I was never really a fan of asparagus. My first exprience was not hopefull--overboiled to waterlogged flacidity, each stringy and bitter and acrid bite worse than the last. The next time was as a creamed soup, a palid greyed green that only hinted at its once vital jade,. The taste was no better than my introduction.
For year my culinary life was spent avoiding asparagus. I was mostly successful--the only times it appeared on my plate was when I went to fundraiser some other gala-like celebratory dinner.
Don't ask me exactly how I was introduced to bacon-wrapped asparagus. In all likelihood it was a fingerfoodish appetiser. Those pancetta-wrapped spindly spears opened my eyes to the vegetable. But it also opened my eyes to the fact that often, disliked foods can be transformed by pairing them with different flavours and/or cooking techniques. It also helped me realise that, as far as asparagus is concerned, girth does matter...and with these, the thinner, the better...for dinner at least.
Yes, I hear some of you...it's not the asparagus you like: it's the bacon.
Well, there's little doubt that bacon (in whatever form) makes many otherwise revolting foods a lot more palatable, and if all it takes is a rasher to help me vary my veggie intake from time to time, that's not really a bad thing, is it? As with many vegetables, roasting asparagus carmelises its natural sugars, which plays well with the strip of streaky, salted, smokey goodness.
Over the years I've prepared this dish many, many times--sometimes as a side dish, sometimes as an appaetiser, sometimes with roasted potatoes as a dinner on its own...but dipped into the squidgey yolk of a poached egg, these roasted, baconed roasted spears are simply delicious.
Bacon-wrapped roasted asparagus is another non-recipe recipe. Simply wrap trimmed spears in the bacon of your choice and roast in an oven until the bacon is cooked to your liking. Depending upon your particular kitchen gods (and your oven's temp), it could take 15 minutes or 25.
Serves up to 4
16 asparagus spears, washed and snapped of their woody ends
4 rashers of streaky bacon or slices of pancetta
freshly-ground black pepper
Divide the spears into bundles of four, wrapping each one in a rasher.
Place on a foil-lined baking tray and pop into a medium-to-hot oven--350F-400F (170C-200C) for about 15 minutes or until the bacon is cooked.
Dust with freshly-ground pepper before serving.
I'm a quill for hire!
I'm a quill for hire!