Stir-fried asparagus with bacon is a simple side dish that can be whipped up in less than ten minutes. It’s very common in German cuisine to pair vegetables with some kind of cured pork product. Without a doubt, asparagus is already delicious by itself. But pairing it with the savoriness of bacon takes this humble vegetable to the next level.
For crisp and vibrant asparagus, it’s necessary to blanch it before stir-frying. The actual stir-frying is just to reheat the asparagus and to let it soak up the bacon fat. The asparagus stems are always a bit harder than the tips so make sure to give them an extra minute in the blanching water.
You won’t need to add any additional oil to your saute pan or wok before stir-frying. There’s enough fat in the bacon to render out for frying. Once the bacon has turned crispy, it is time to add the thyme leaves and asparagus. You just want to briefly mix everything and let the asparagus reheat.
How to serve stir-fried asparagus
It’s best to mix together the sauce before you start stir-frying. The sauce is just a shiny glaze that consists of two tablespoons of chicken broth which are mixed with some cornstarch and sugar. The sauce will thicken immediately once it hits the hot pan and give the asparagus a nice sheen.
As bacon is already salty, and as the asparagus has already been blanched in salted water, I think it is unnecessary to add any additional salt at the end of the cooking process. The asparagus is usually well seasoned already.
This asparagus stir-fry can be served with a wide array of side dishes. I think it goes great with German pancakes and Swabian potato salad. It’s can also be eaten as the only main dish with rice or boiled potatoes.
Stir-fried Asparagus with Bacon (‘Gebratener Spargel mit Speck’)
- 1 pound (450 g) green asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1.5-inch pieces
- salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon potato starch
- 3.5 ounces (100 g) smoked bacon, cut into tiny cubes
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Blanch the asparagus:
- Bring plenty of water in a large saute pan or wok to a heavy boil. Season generously with salt and add the asparagus stems. Blanch for one minute, then add the asparagus tips. Leave the asparagus in the blanching water for another 1-2 minutes, depending on how tender you like your asparagus. Shock the blanched asparagus in ice water and drain.
Stir-fry the asparagus:
- In a small cup, whisk together the chicken broth, sugar, and potato starch.
- Remove the blanching water from the saute pan or wok. Heat over medium heat and add the bacon cubes. Let the fat render out and cook the bacon cubes until crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the thyme leaves and blanched asparagus. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then whisk in your sauce and let it thicken briefly. Take the pan off the heat and serve immediately.