This side dish is basically just three things that taste good all mixed together; it's pretty tough to get wrong. Plus, all your side dishes in one bowl = less cleanup = good by me.
ASPARAGUS, BACON & NEW POTATO SALAD
What you need:
1 bunch skinny asparagus
8-10 slices thick-cut, excellent-quality bacon
1 bag small red new potatoes
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper
Freshly grated parmigiana (optional)
What you do:
1. Cut any larger potatoes in half (or in quarters); you can leave the really tiny ones whole. Put them in boiling water and let cook about 12 minutes, or until soft.
2. Meanwhile, cut off the tough parts of the asparagus* and set it on a baking sheet (preferably one with sides). Drizzle with a little olive oil and sea salt and roast in a 400F oven for a few minutes, or until a fork can be inserted easily into a stalk.
3. While the asparagus cooks, fry up the bacon until well-done (but not burned); you want it nice and crispy. I splurged on D'Artagnan Applewood-Smoked Bacon, and it was majorly worth it. Except I ate a few pieces before they could make it into the salad (so, OK, maybe step it up to 12-14 slices, just in case).
4. Combine the potatoes, the asparagus (cut into thirds) and the bacon (crumbled) in a large bowl. Add olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and the juice from half a lemon, and toss everything together. You can also throw in some freshly grated parmigiana, if you like.
*TIP: To determine where to cut your asparagus, take one piece and bend it until it snaps naturally; that's the spot where the asparagus gets tough. Line up the broken piece with the rest of your asparagus and cut along the line (it'll seem like you're cutting a lot off, but all you're getting rid of is the part that doesn't taste so hot, anyway).
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