BACON WRAPPED ASPARAGUS

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus is a smoky and savory side dish that will be a staple for mealtime. Learn the critical technique to ensure that the bacon is crisp as it cooks with the asparagus spears. Maple syrup is added to each bundle for a caramelized, sweet and sticky glaze.

These greens spears can be enjoyed steamed, boiled, sauteed, grilled, roasted or even eaten raw. An easy way to take the flavor to the next level is to wrap the asparagus with roasted bacon and add a sweet maple glaze. The caramelized bacon wrapped asparagus will be a dish that everyone loves!

BACON WRAPPED ASPARAGUS

There are two challenges when making vegetables wrapped in bacon. First, the bacon strips are cooked on the outside, but the insides don't have the same crisp texture. Second, the asparagus spears cook way too quickly in the high-temperature oven before the bacon is done, creating shriveled up bundles. I found just the right solution to improve both of these issues, and the results are delicious!

The critical step is to par-cook the bacon before it gets wrapped. Thick cut bacon slices are used so that it's easy to handle after precooking because it's not too thin and fragile. It also doesn't crisp too quickly and is pliable when wrapping the asparagus bundles.

The pieces of bacon are roasted for a few minutes until just cooked and flexible. The cooking time may vary depending on how thick the bacon is, so make sure to use your intuition with time being just a guideline.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 5 slices thick-cut bacon
  • Kosher salt, as needed for seasoning
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed to 7-inch long spears
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top.
  3. Spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Place 5 slices of bacon spaced evenly apart on the pan.
  5. Roast until the bacon just begins to shrink and turns a slightly red color, but is still flexible, about 5 minutes, depending on thickness. The bacon should not be completely crispy, otherwise, it will break when wrapping around the asparagus.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, and black pepper.
  7. Remove the bacon from the oven and brush with the maple syrup mixture on both sides. Roast the bacon for 3 more minutes.
  8. Allow the bacon to cool until it's easy to handle with your fingers. Divide the asparagus into five even-size bundles.
  9. On a cutting board, wrap one slice of the par-cooked bacon overlapping over the length of the asparagus spears.
  10. Secure the bacon with a toothpick. Carefully place the bundles on the baking rack. Generously brush the maple syrup mixture over the bacon-wrapped asparagus spears on both sides.
  11. Lightly season each bundle with salt and pepper.
  12. Roast the asparagus bundles for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and brush the maple mixture over just the bacon.
  13. Roast for 5 minutes, or until the bacon is browned and crispy, and the asparagus is tender.
  14. Remove the toothpicks and serve the bacon wrapped asparagus hot.

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