Possible historical background:
Bacon-wrapped asparagus is a savory and satisfying dish that combines two classic ingredients in a new and tasty way. While the exact origins of this recipe are unclear, we can trace the use of both bacon and asparagus in cooking back to ancient times.
Asparagus, a member of the lily family, was prized by ancient Greeks and Romans for its delicate flavor and medicinal properties. The Greek philosopher Thales reportedly ate asparagus before making important decisions, while the Roman emperor Augustus created a special fleet to transport asparagus from the Black Sea to Rome. Asparagus also played a role in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, where it was believed to have diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and aphrodisiac effects.
Bacon, on the other hand, comes from cured and smoked pork belly or back and has a long and varied history across cultures. The word “bacon” derives from the Old High German word “bacho,” which means “buttock,” and has been consumed in some form by humans since prehistoric times. Egyptian hieroglyphics depict the sacrificial killing and salting of pigs, while ancient Chinese, Roman, and Viking cuisines all included bacon-like products. In medieval Europe, bacon became a staple food for peasants and soldiers, who preserved it for months by smoking or drying it. In America, bacon became even more popular in the 20th century due to its convenience, affordability, and versatility.
By combining these two ingredients, bacon-wrapped asparagus spears offer a delicious and nutritious side dish that can complement a variety of main courses or stand on their own. Asparagus provides fiber, vitamins (especially K, A, and C), and antioxidants, while bacon adds protein, fat, and umami flavor. By roasting the asparagus and baking the bacon, we can create a crispy and crunchy texture that contrasts with the tender and juicy stems. The olive oil and seasoning enhance the natural flavors and add depth to the dish, making it a reliable and irresistible favorite for any occasion.
Ask the Chef: Pro Tips for making Bacon Asparagus Spears
Choose the Right Asparagus
Look for asparagus stalks that are firm and not wilted, with closed tips. Thinner asparagus spears work best for this recipe, as the bacon will cook more evenly around them.
Preheat the Oven
It’s important to preheat the oven to 400°F before baking so that the bacon gets crispy, and the asparagus cooks evenly.
Use toothpicks to secure the bacon to the asparagus stalks. Soak the toothpicks in water for 10-15 minutes before using them. This will prevent them from burning in the oven.
Bacon is salty, so keep that in mind when seasoning with salt and pepper. You may want to go light on the salt and let the bacon provide the saltiness.
Don’t Overcook It
Keep an eye on the asparagus while cooking, and remove them from the oven when the bacon is crispy and the asparagus is a little browned but still bright green. Overcooked asparagus can be mushy and unappetizing.
Make Ahead of Time
You can assemble the bacon-wrapped asparagus a few hours ahead of time and keep them in the fridge. Just be sure to take them out of the fridge about an hour before baking to let them come to room temperature.
Serve with Dip
Serve with a dipping sauce like balsamic glaze, hollandaise sauce, or aioli to complement the savory flavors.
How Many Calories are in Bacon Asparagus Spears?
4-5 Servings per Recipe
- Total Fat: 30g
- Saturated Fat: 9.5g
- Unsaturated Fat: 20.5g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 50mg
- Sodium: 730mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 5g
- Dietary Fiber: 2g
- Total Sugars: 2g
- Added Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 22g
What Drinks Pair Best with Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus?
Wine pairing: A crisp and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc would pair well with the bacon-wrapped asparagus spears. The wine’s acidity and herbaceous notes complement the smokiness of the bacon and the earthiness of the asparagus.
Beer pairing: A Belgian saison pairs well with bacon-wrapped asparagus spears due to its spicy and fruity notes that complement the smoky and salty flavor of the bacon. The saison’s effervescence also balances the oiliness of the dish.
Cocktail pairing: A suitable cocktail pairing for this recipe would be a classic Martini. Its subtle but elegant flavors of gin and vermouth would complement the savory taste of bacon and asparagus, creating a perfect balance.
How to Make Bacon Asparagus Spears
- 1 lb Asparagus Spears
- 1 lb Bacon
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Wash and trim the ends of the asparagus spears.
- Divide the asparagus spears into 4-5 equally sized bundles.
- Take 1 slice of bacon and wrap it around 1 asparagus spear in a spiral motion, starting from the bottom and up to the tip.
- Repeat with the remaining asparagus spears and bacon.
- Arrange the bacon-wrapped asparagus spears on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Brush the olive oil on top of each asparagus bundle.
- Sprinkle salt and black pepper on top of each asparagus bundle.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy and the asparagus is tender.
- Remove from the oven and serve hot. Enjoy!