Bacon gets a bad wrap. While it might not be top of mind when it comes to healthy eating, it’s not necessarily a “bad” food. As part of a balanced diet, bacon can have a place at the table. It adds smoky flavor and protein to this delicious spring salad. For a heartier meal, accompany this salad with grilled or broiled fish or chicken.
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
Total time: 25 minutes
For the salad:
10 small new potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 large bunch of asparagus
3 slices of nitrate-free bacon
2 tablespoons mustard seeds, lightly toasted
3 – 4 green onions, finely chopped (both white and green parts)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
For the dressing:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced/crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Boil potatoes in a large pot until tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 to 20 minutes.
2. While the potatoes are boiling, cook bacon and drain on paper towels to minimize grease.
3. Next, steam the asparagus until fork-tender, about 3 to 5 minutes for thin stalks, or 6 to 8 minutes for thick stalks.
4. While the asparagus is steaming, fill a very large bowl about 1/4 full of cold water and ice. Then place a medium bowl inside the large bowl. The ice water should come up around the sides of the medium bowl but shouldn’t spill over into it.
5. As soon the asparagus is done, run the spears under cold water to stop the cooking, and place them in the medium bowl to cool further.
6. Over low heat in a small pan, lightly toast the mustard seeds until you hear them pop. Set aside.
7. Chop parsley and green onions and add to a large salad bowl. Chop the cooled bacon into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl.
8. In a small bowl, mix oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and cooled mustard seeds and set aside.
9. Chop the asparagus on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces and place in salad bowl with parsley and green onions.
10. Roughly chop the potatoes and add to the salad bowl. Gently toss everything together with the dressing and serve immediately.
Blanching asparagus (or any other vegetable) maintains the vegetable’s bright color and slows the cooking process so you get a perfectly crisp-tender result. The process appears complicated but once you’ve done it, you’ll see just how easy it is!
Editor’s Note: How do you prepare asparagus? Share your tips in the comments!