Monday, 15 June 2009

Bacon & Mushroom Warm Asparagus Salad

Warm mushroom salads were kind of a fad - when? Late '80's or early '90's? But none the worse for that. Warm bacon salad dressings have been around for ages. Throw in some warm asparagus and you've got a very nice salad to serve as a starter, or with some bread and butter it will make a complete meal for two.

As usual, I went for presentation over convenience in eating, and left the lettuce and asparagus whole. It would certainly be easier to eat if they were cut in small pieces, but on the other hand you can always supply the eaters with a knife as well as a fork.

2 or 4 servings
20 minutes prep time

Bacon and Mushroom Warm Asparagus Salad
Make the Dressing:
2 teaspoons arrowroot or corn starch
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
pinch of salt
a good grind of black pepper

Mix the above in a small bowl, and set aside until needed.

Make the Salad:
8 to 10 leaves mixed lettuce
350 grams (3/4 pound) asparagus
200 grams (1/3 pound) fresh shiitake mushrooms
250 grams (1/2 pound) lean bacon
1 large shallot, or 1/2 small onion

the juice of 1/2 lemon

Wash the lettuce leaves, and drain them well. Divide them evenly among the serving plates.

Clean and trim the asparagus, and cut the stems from the shiitakes. Cut them in halves or strips if they are large. Chop the bacon. Peel and mince the shallot or onion.

Put the asparagus in a shallow pot with water to cover, and bring to a boil. Boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove them and rinse briefly in cold water. When they are warm, divide them amongst the plates of lettuce.

Meanwhile, as soon as the asparagus goes on to cook, put the bacon pieces in a large skillet and fry over medium-high heat. Once they have started to cook, add the shallot or onion and shiitakes. Sauté until the bacon is soft-crisp, and the onions and mushrooms show signs of browning. This should be about the same amount of time as it takes the asparagus to cook.

Once the asparagus has been distributed over the lettuce, stir up the dressing mixture and add it to the pan with the bacon and shiitakes. Stir well. Once it thickens - within seconds - remove the pan from the heat and distribute the bacon, shiitakes and dressing over the salads. Squeeze over a generous amount of lemon juice, or pass wedges so that eaters can apply their own.

I haven't been posting what I was making last year at this time, so to catch up: Quaker Punch, Chicken in Miso-Tahini Sauce and Rosemary Spinach.


Joanne said...

I love the abundance of asparagus recipes lately! I don't think I've ever had a warm mushroom salad, but there's always time for a first!

Ferdzy said...

Yep... I'm still actually waiting for strawberries; it's been cool up here. So more asparagus it is... maybe some spinach coming up soon...

Kevin said...

Warm mushroom salads are good and this one with asparagus thrown in sounds really good.

Kevin Kossowan said...

Just as an aside to your grilling thoughts. It took me a long time and lots of homework to find what I wanted - a good sized brick grill intended for fire/charcoal. Here's a similar type to what I'm planning. Thought it might help offer alternatives for you. Although I adore the simple and cheap approach of hibachi. Why not?