Asparagus Snuggled In Bacon

Bacon always makes everything better -- including asparagus.
Bacon always makes everything better — including asparagus.

Pick a card, any card.

Then, fire up the grill.

“The BBQ Companion” collection of 50 recipe cards (Smith Street) is sure to spark fun with backyard grilling this summer.

Think of them like flash cards — only each one contains a different grilling recipe along with a color photo of the finished dish.

The recipe cards, of which I received a review copy, were created by Sydney-based food writer Oscar Smith.

The collection includes 50 different grilling recipes to enjoy.
The collection includes 50 different grilling recipes to enjoy.

The recipes include everything from “Firey Lemongrass Chicken Wings,” “Grilled Lamb Loin with Anchovy & Garlic Butter,” and “Fish Tacos with Chipotle Sauce” to “Haloumi Burgers with Peperonata” and “Rum-Spiked Barbecued Banana Boats.”

In keeping with spring’s bounty, I drew the recipe card for “Asparagus-Wrapped in Bacon.”

Asparagus spears are wrapped in bacon strips, then grilled. Just before they’re done, sprinkle on a little brown sugar, then garnish with black pepper and toasted sesame seeds.

Readying the bundles.
Readying the bundles.

The recipe calls for two bunches of asparagus and four slices of bacon. My asparagus spears were on the thicker side, so I decide to go with only four asparagus per bacon-wrapped bundle, fearing that any more would leave the ones at the very center uncooked. If you do the same, you will end up using just over one bundle of asparagus for four slices of bacon. If you want to cook more bundles, simply increase the number of bacon slices.

Speaking of which, you’ll want fairly thin slices of bacon, not really thick ones, since the bacon touches the grill on only one side and you want to ensure the strips cook through.

Turn them frequently on the grill so they cook evenly.
Turn them frequently on the grill so they cook evenly.

The bacon gets kissed by smoke and ends up with a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar. The tender asparagus spears get caramelized, and thus sweeter, too.

The fanciful bundles could be a side dish, first course or even main course served with grilled bread and a grain or bean salad. Or let it be dealer’s choice on how to enjoy it best.

They make for a pretty little package.
They make for a pretty little package.

Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon

(Serves 2 to 4)

1 to 2 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed

4 slices or more thin, rindless, streaky bacon

Olive oil, for drizzling

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Preheat a barbecue grill to medium.

Divide the asparagus into four bundles. If the spears are on the thicker side, use four spears per bundle. If the spears are pencil-thin, you can use more. Wrap each bundle with a slice of bacon to create four bundles; or more if you have extra asparagus and extra bacon. Secure with a piece of kitchen string. Drizzle with a little olive oil.

Cook the asparagus, turning carefully every now and then, for 6 to 8 minutes until the asparagus is lightly charred and the bacon is cooked through. Sprinkle all over with sugar and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes until the sugar is caramelized.

Serve immediately, scattered liberally with the sesame seeds and seasoned with freshly ground black pepper.

Adapted from “The BBQ Companion” by Oscar Smith

More Asparagus Recipes to Enjoy: Asparagus and Scrambled Egg Scattered Sushi

And: Spicy Ground Pork with Ginger, Lime, Peppers, and Asparagus

And: Shaved Asparagus Salad with Asparagus Buttermilk Dressing and Pickled Asparagus Tips

And: Asparagus Fry with Mustard Seeds and Coconut

And: Asparagus in Coconut Cream Sauce

And: Asparagus Pastry Straws

And: Roasted Asparagus Gratin

And: Simmered Asparagus with Orange and Mint

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