I can never make enough of them!
These appetizers are sweet, salty, tender and crisp. They are also highly addictive. One bite will lead to…many more bites.
The green and bronze spears always disappear at cocktail parties. They also disappear whenever I bring a plate of them upstairs, for binge-snacking while binge-watching some riveting TV series, such as Homeland. Or Transparent. Or Jinxed.
On the upside, I can eat all I want, and without any degree of guilt. You see, these babies are not only sexy-savory-scrumptious, but they are practically carb-free, too. Dr. Atkins would approve.
For the following recipe, I used 18 asparagus spears, and 9 strips of center-cut bacon. But you can increase or decrease the quantities as you desire.
Tip: When you buy fresh asparagus, be sure to store it in a jar or drinking glass with an inch or two of water. Then cover the top with a plastic bag. Arranged this way, the spears will stay fresh and wonderful in the fridge for at least 3 days.
First, snap off the woody ends of the spears, as no one will want to eat them. Just bend the lower end of the stem until it snaps. You’ll be left with only the most tender, delicious part of the spears. Then trim the ends with a knife so that all stems are approximately the same length.
Drop the trimmed spears into a bowl of cold water to wash them. (And please note the yellow-rimmed white blobs in my bowl. These are ghostly ships, floating on the asparagus water. Remember, I live in a haunted house.)
Next, starting near the feathery asparagus tip, wrap the bacon around the stem in a tight spiral. There is absolutely no need to secure the ends of the bacon with toothpicks, as myriad other recipes recommend. Well, I’ve never had the bacon unravel.
And by the way, I order parchment paper that’s been pre-cut to fit my baking sheets. You can do this, too, and for a song, since 100 sheets will set you back only $6. Here’s my source.
Make Ahead Note: At this point, you can cover the baking tray with a sheet of plastic wrap, and store the works in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 400°F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the bacon is thoroughly cooked. Then fire up the broiler, move the oven rack to the top position, and broil until the bacon turns a handsome shade of bronze — 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on things while broiling, as you don’t want the asparagus to blacken.
Did you notice that in the photo above, one bacon-wrapped asparagus was missing? Mea culpa — I couldn’t wait to try it. Soooooo delicious.
Transfer the finished appetizers to a plate or platter, and serve! You can serve them hot, warm, or even cold.
One warm spring evening, I served these smokey treasures in the herb garden. My cocktail guests devoured them before I could say “How do you like my Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus?”
Promise me you’ll try this easy–peazy finger food some day. Trust me — you won’t regret the tiny effort they require, and again, you can make them in advance, and simply bake them off shortly before your guests arrive.
Need a copy-and-paste version of the above? Here we go-go:
Kevin Lee Jacobs
Ingredients for 18 appetizers, or 9 servings (increase amounts as needed)
18 perfectly fresh, in-season asparagus stems, the woody ends removed
9 slices center-cut bacon
Cut the trimmed asparagus so that all are approximately the same length. Rinse in cold water, and then blot dry in a terry towel.
Cut the bacon strips lengthwise in half. Starting just below the feathery tip, wrap the bacon in a tight spiral around each stem.
Place the stems on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them approximately 1 inch apart.
Make Ahead Note: If you are not going to bake the appetizers right away, wrap the tray in plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Place one oven rack in the center position, and another at the uppermost position. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Bake on the center rack until the bacon is done — 20-25 minutes. Then transfer to the upper rack, and broil on “High” until the bacon turns a gorgeous shade of caramel brown — 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on matters while broiling, as you won’t want the asparagus to blacken.
Serve hot, warm, or even cold. Delicious with a cocktail. I’ll have a martini, please.
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