This salad was divine, particularly as asparagus is so gorgeous when it is in season. When I walked past these perfect spears of goodness I just had to buy them and I knew then that they weren’t just going to be a boring old accompaniment. They were going to be a show stopping side. Perfect for Christmas or in fact, any occasion.
Prep time: 15 Minutes Cooking time: 30 Minutes $$ Medium Budget
Serves 4 (Double the recipe for a crowd)
2 bunches of fresh asparagus (if you live in the northern hemisphere, beans would be good!)
1 punnet of grape tomatoes, halved (I use the split Perino brand from Coles)
1 red onion, peeled halved and sliced into thin wedges
12 thyme sprigs
4 bacon rashers, thinly sliced
50gm of Greek fetta
20gm of toasted pine nuts
1 punnet of micro basil (Available at some Woolworths but chopped parsley or small basil leaves will do)
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Aged balsamic vinegar for drizzling
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C
Place the sliced tomatoes and red onions in a lined baking tray in a haphazard fashion. Drizzle with extra virgin and season with salt and pepper. Give the tray a bit of a shake to coat everything with the oil and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Slice the woody ends off the asparagus spears (about 2cm) and discard. Place the asparagus in the pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water before placing the spears back in the pot. Cover with cold water and add some ice. This will ensure your asparagus stays lovely and crispy. Drain the ice off before serving.
Heat a small fry pan and add a small drizzle of oil. Fry the bacon until nice and crispy. If you have a splatter guard, it will come in handy. Once crispy drain on paper towel.
Place the asparagus in a shallow serving platter. Scatter the bacon, tomatoes, onions and thyme over the asparagus, crossways to the spears (nice presentation). Crumble over the feta and pine nuts and sprinkle over the herbs. Season with a little salt and pepper and drizzle over extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve with barbecued or roast meats or on its own if that is your preference!