Friday, June 8, 2012

Bacon-wrapped Asparagus

Who would have ever thought that Disneyland could be the inspiration for a dish we’ve been making ever since we discovered it?

It was during a trip to the Magic Kingdom about 10-15 years ago that my husband and I discovered bacon-wrapped asparagus. We were in Adventureland and wanted to board the Jungle Cruise. (Side note: ever since I was little, we always started the park on the left and went around it in clock-wise fashion. The first “land” is Adventureland and it’s always been my favorite. It's tradition to go to the Tiki Room first and listen to the birds sing (my husband rolls his eyes every time. Well, I'm sorry - this is just the way it has to be!). Anyway, I digress. 

The line for the Jungle Cruise was (surprise, surprise) a mile long. But before entering the queue, since we were a bit hungry, we decided to eat first, then get in line. We turned around and there it was: the Bengal Barbeque - a casual counter type of eating place.

On the menu (and according to this link it’s still there): bacon-wrapped asparagus. Intrigued, we ordered it. It was incredible, and you can’t say that about much of the food at Disneyland (another side note: this reminds me of another visit to the Park when we contracted food poisoning and threw up all night long – good times).  This was an interesting combination of vegetable and bacon. It made such an impact on my husband, that he offers to make it for nearly every occasion when friends come over. It’s super easy, and though it does take a little time to prepare, it’s well worth the effort. We just made it again over Memorial Day.

All you need are: wooden skewers, bacon, and asparagus. That’s it. Not even seasoning. It can’t get any simpler. Here’s how to make them at home.

Bacon-wrapped Asparagus

Serves 2.

Wooden skewers
Bacon (1/2 package is enough for 2 people), I like the applewood smoked variety, but any kind will do
½ bunch of thick-stalked asparagus

Break the skewers in half, and soak them in water if you wish. Some people claim this prevents them from burning on the grill, but we don’t bother. Take your long bacon strips and cut them into 3” long pieces. Wash your asparagus, trim off the very ends (about ½” from the bottom), and peel the lower third. The asparagus should be the thicker variety – none of those skinny asparagus. You need these to hold up on the grill, so the thicker, the better.  

Cut your asparagus stalks into thirds. Take a piece of bacon and wrap it around an asparagus stalk. Once you have 4 of them wrapped, skewer them as indicated in the photo. Make sure to slide them close together; you don’t want any gaps between stalks. Continue until all your asparagus is wrapped.

Grill for about 7-8 minutes per side on medium-low. It’s important to keep an eye on them while they grill because it’s easy to get a flare up when the bacon fat starts dripping into the flames. You don’t want to end up burning your bacon to smithereens. Move them around on the grill as needed to avoid the flames. Asparagus should still have a little crunch while bacon should be thoroughly cooked.

These make an excellent appetizer or first course. I’d bet your dad would love them on Father’s Day.

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