I had a series of Single-Gal meals that kept me alive during my senior year of college. Being broke and lazy led to a lot of pizza and a lack of vegetables. To make up for the lack of proper meals and veggies, I would eat a literal pile of vegetables for dinner/lunch a couple times a week. My favorite pile was roasted asparagus with olive oil, shit tons garlic and Parmesan cheese. I ate them with my hands like fries!
Now that I can’t eat cheese but can take better care of myself, I’ve stopped eating piles of Parmesan-covered vegetables randomly for dinner and have started eating them at every dinner like a real adult. Garlic and olive oil go a long way on vegetables, but there are those days when you need something bolder, like bacon. Why is it that bacon makes everything better – or even epic?
The other night, Bronson and I were making a simple roasted chicken with asparagus for dinner. It would have been a fine dinner, but it needed a bit of ‘BAM!’, and I knew that bacon would be a great addition. Salty, smoky, a little sweet, perfect on top of roasted asparagus.
I started by chopping the bottom ends (not the fluffy end!) off of the asparagus. I cut raw bacon into small stripes and cooked them up in a frying pan, saving the oil after the bacon was halfway cooked. I laid the asparagus on a baking sheet and poured some of the bacon oil over them (just a titch to get them covered, not greasy). I added salt, pepper, and crushed garlic over the asparagus, then just rolled them back and forth on the baking sheet to get them covered.
I finished the asparagus by sprinkling the bacon on top and roasting it all for about 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Like I said, I love the skinny bunches, so if you have a bunch of thicker asparagus, they will require a longer time in the oven.
When the asparagus turned bright green and a little crispy at the fluffy ends, I pulled the sheet from the oven. The bacon finished cooking in the oven and came out perfectly – Soft, but thoroughly cooked. Not crispy or crunchy. And it smelled amazing! The salty garlic and tangy bacon wafted from the oven as I pulled the asparagus out.
I could hardly wait for my plate. We browned the chicken for just a few more minutes, and as we waited, I couldn’t help myself. I was lifting asparagus fries right from the baking sheet like old times! The asparagus was a lovely addition to dinner, and it ended up being my favorite part. I ate my chicken, but I ate more of the asparagus. Most of it, actually.
If you’re making a veggie side dish and it needs a punch of awesome, add bacon or cook the vegetables in *a little* bacon fat! Too much will overhaul the vegetables both in flavor and nutrients. The fat adds a wonderful richness to otherwise plain asparagus. Just look at that photo below! No boring, all BAM!
Recipe for Garlic and Bacon Roasted Asparagus:
1 bunch Asparagus (I use bunches of skinny asparagus)
3 cloves Garlic
3 strips bacon, cut into small strips
1/4 cup Bacon Oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut bottoms (non-fluffy end) off of asparagus and lay on baking sheet. Cook partially halfway in frying pan. Pour a small amount of bacon oil over the asparagus and add salt, pepper and crushed garlic on top of asparagus. Roll asparagus back and forth on baking sheet to coat in oil. Sprinkle bacon strips over asparagus and bake for 20 minutes.