Menu planning is one of my favorite and least-favorite times of the week. I have plenty of great ideas for main dishes but I tend to cycle through the same few vegetable sides over and over. Lately, it has been roasted broccoli and roasted asparagus.
I could eat roasted asparagus and broccoli every other night of the week and never get tired of it. And The Little adores “green sticks” and “baby trees”… even though she requires “white sauce” (ranch dressing) along side them both for dipping.
But hey. At least it’s not ketchup?
The other 1/3 of our household – not so overly crazy about roasted asparagus, ranch dressing or not. But since I had it on the menu three times this week, I decided to fancy it up with a little bacon.
Because If I’ve learned anything over the years about trying to make something green more appealing to picky eaters, it’s that bacon is usually the first – and only – step that you have to take. Last night’s roasted asparagus with bacon vinaigrette was no different.
And it’s a pretty easy dish to throw together, albeit in a bit of organized chaos. While the asparagus is roasting in the oven (right along side your main dish), chop the shallot and fry the bacon for the vinaigrette. By the time the asparagus is done, so is the dressing. And by the time I finished the side and chopped a quick green salad and shoved the entire contents of my “leftover bowl” cabinet back into the cabinet (do kids ever grow out of that stage?), the main dish was ready.
Organized chaos. It’s a delicious thing.
And so is bacon.
Roasted Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette
Roasted asparagus dressed up with a warm bacon vinaigrette.
- For the asparagus:
- 1 1/2-2 lbs asparagus, woody ends trimmed
- Olive oil
- For the vinaigrette:
- 3 slices bacon, diced
- 3/4 cup chopped shallot (~1 1/2 medium shallots)
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- Preheat the oven to 400 (or if you're baking a main dish alongside, whatever that recipe requires and then adjust the cooking time for the asparagus).
- Line a baking sheet with foil.
- Drizzle the asparagus with just a little olive oil - just enough to keep it from sticking to the foil - and bake on the lined baking sheet for ~15 minutes (thinner stalks a few minutes shorter, extra thick stalks longer).
- Over medium-high heat, fry the chopped bacon to a crisp in a medium pan.
- Transfer bacon pieces with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving behind as much fat in the pan as possible.
- Reduce heat to medium and saute the shallots until softened, 3-5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the white wine vinegar, stirring and scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in the mustard and olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- If the dressing seems a little strong, add another teaspoon of olive oil. (I personally like the sharpness but you might want to tone it down with the extra olive oil.)
- Pour dressing and bacon over asparagus, lightly toss, and serve.
- If you're planning to have leftovers, reserve some of the cooked bacon to top just before serving, otherwise, it loses it's crispness.
Yields: 6-8 servings
Estimated time: 20 minutes