This quick, easy dish is a terrific spring side or main
Fresh, local asparagus? We can’t get enough of it. Asparagus season is short, so we enjoy it while we can.
In this dish, for instance. It combines asparagus with bacon and tomato in a quick stir-fry.
Asparagus and bacon. What more could we want in life?
Recipe: Asparagus, Bacon, and Tomato Stir-Fry
We call this dish stir-fry because it’s made fairly quickly, and all in one pan (we use a large frying pan, but a wok works too). You could also call this a sauté or a skillet dish. You get the idea, in any case.
Asparagus spears vary in diameter (some are thick, some thin). But that doesn’t matter for this dish – their flavor will be the same. The only difference is that thicker asparagus takes longer to cook, so adjust your timing accordingly.
Prep time plus cooking time for this dish adds up to about 20 minutes.
This recipe yields about 2 main-course servings, or 4 side-dish servings.
- ~1 pound asparagus
- ~4 ounces bacon, preferably thick sliced (or more, to taste)
- ~¼ cup shallots, minced
- salt to taste (a couple pinches of kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- 1 to 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise or across their width
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
- Cut off the tough butt ends of the asparagus spears (about 2 inches). Rinse the asparagus, then cut it into pieces of about 1 to 2 inches. Set aside.
- Slice the bacon into pieces of about 1 inch. Place a large frying pan over medium stovetop heat and add the bacon to the pan. Cook the bacon pieces until they’re brown and crisp – 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and drain them on a paper towel.
- Add the minced shallots to the bacon fat in the frying pan and season with salt to taste. Sauté the shallots for about 2 minutes. Then add the chopped asparagus (from Step 1). Cook the asparagus for about 5 minutes, until it’s just slightly crunchy (cook a couple of minutes longer if you want total tenderness). Add the tomatoes and cook them for a minute or two (until they’re thoroughly warm).
- Taste the mixture, then adjust the salt if necessary and add black pepper if you like.
- Ingredient quantities are flexible in this recipe, so adjust to your taste.
- Don’t have shallots on hand? You could substitute onion. And maybe add a clove of garlic to the mix.
- We generally use about a cup or so of grape or cherry tomatoes when we make this dish, but you may want to add more (up to 2 cups).
- You could use standard-size tomatoes (diced up), but they won’t have much flavor at this time of year. Cherry and grape tomatoes, at least in our market, are the ones that are most flavorful right now, so that’s what we use. And their size works well in this recipe.
- We cook the tomatoes briefly, so they don’t break down and release many of their juices. You may prefer to cook them longer (up to 10 minutes).
- We sometimes add a teaspoon or two of lemon juice to this dish right before serving – the extra acid helps brighten the flavor. Tomatoes contain acid too, of course, so taste before doing this.
- We sometimes also add a teaspoon of dried thyme (or other herb of choice).
- We don’t think this dish needs garnish. But a sprinkling of chopped parsley or some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wouldn’t be amiss.
- Want a substitute for bacon? You could use chopped pancetta or guanciale. Or prosciutto.
- Bacon tends to be salty, so use salt sparingly in this dish. You can always adjust the seasoning right before serving.
- Speaking of salt: We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
“Love all the asparagus we’ve been having,” said Mrs Kitchen Riffs. “It’s springtime on a plate.”
“Yup,” I said. “The birds are twittering, the lilac is blooming, and we’re chowing down on asparagus. Makes me feel frolicsome.”
“What shallot be next time?” said Mrs K R. “Asparagus à la mode?”
“Nyet,” I said. "But Asparagus with Savory Whipped Cream? Hmmm, that’s one of our faves. Maybe I could riff on that a bit.”
“Putting ideas into your head again,” said Mrs K R. “Dangerous.”
“You can count on me to be responsible in the kitchen,” I said. “Most of the time.”
“And we have 1-800-Got-Mess on speed dial,” said Mrs K R.
So I won’t despairagus
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We eat a lot of fresh local asparagus this time of year and this recipe for it is great. Bacon rules, never thought of combining them and then the shallots and tomatoes. Good dish, good eating! Thanks and take care
Hi Pam, we love asparagus! And are always making a stir-fry that's veggie heavy for dinner at this time of the year. This is a particularly nice combo of flavors. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Anything everything involves bacon is a winner for me. This stirfry looks terrific, and simply perfect for the asparagus season, John.
Hi Angie, bacon always IS a winner, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
My kind of stir fry!
Hi Pam, ours, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Martha, it's really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Anne, we may have this again this weekend. :-) Thanks for the comment.
The change in deep flavor of cherry, grape, and cocktail tomatoes has been amazing. They didn’t seem so great in the somewhat distant past, but now — as you say — really are more tasty than bigger ones. (That said, t here are still some types of cherry tomatoes that are a bit blah).
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Mae, you're right that some of the cherry/grape tomatoes have meh flavor. We've learned which of the brands we usually see at our store aren't as good, and always avoid them. Thanks for the comment.
Hi R, good, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
According to the boys, bacon belongs in its own food group! They would certainly love this. Asparagus is so sweet and delicious in season. Love this super easy dish.
Hi Bobbi, your boys are wise. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Shall have to wait a whole four months to enjoy this ! Must admit to being boring with asparagus normally - it is so precious so it tends to get classical treatment in this house :) ! Steamed with slivers of the best ham and the occasional hollandaise . . . have never used bacon and normally love my long stalks lined up like soldiers . . . must get more adventurous !!!
Hi Eha, we have asparagus on the menu at least twice a week at this time of the year, so are always tinkering with new ways to prepare it. Those four months will fly by in a hurry! :-) Thanks for the comment.
That is an irresistible combination of flavors
Hi Pat and Dahn, bacon makes anything irresistible. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I just noticed that you've been featuring asparagus in your last three posts- must be something in that! I especially like your recipe for asparagus and white bean soup!
Hi Fran, we've been on an asparagus roll. Springtime, you know. :-) Thanks for the comment.
There's nothing better than some local asparagus (and then strawberries) in spring and early summer - very anticipated produce! The combination of asparagus, bacon, and tomatoes is great, and it makes a beautiful and hearty main course (to me) or can easily be transformed into a salad.
What a great looking dish, love the bright colour of the asparagus. It’s in season here too but I haven’t seen local just yet, mainly from Mexico. Will definitely try this when Ontario asparagus hit our markets.
Hi Ben, this is essentially a warm salad! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Eva, we're seeing a lot of local asparagus, but even the stuff from Mexico and California seems exceptional at this time of the year (the rest of the year it's ind of prosaic). Thanks for the comment.
We can't get enough asparagus right now either, and I'm loving all of your recipes with it. Bacon with a lovely green vegetable can be magical! :-) ~Valentina
Hi Valentina, this is the time of year when we kinda OD on asparagus. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Perfect little recipe for the season. We love asparagus and can always use another idea, especially one with BACON. YUM! Thanks John.
Hi MJ, we've been eating our weight in asparagus this past month. Well, not literally, but you know what I mean. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks just so delicious! That's very original I never thought about asparags salad this way ;)
Hi FT, this is also good if you substitute red bell peppers for the tomatoes. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Wow. Well this looks amazing. So unique. I love that it's asparagus season now. And of course I always have good bacon on hand...
Hi Mimi, we love asparagus season! We're eating it several times a week. :-) Thanks for the comment.
oh you and the missus are so funny:) and asparagus is a fabulous thing, as is bacon! i'm not a tomato fan but i could probably live with a few on my plate.
Love the simple clean flavours of this stir fry...so good!
Hi Sherry, you can easily substitute red bell peppers for the tomatoes -- same color, different flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Taruna, this really is an excellent dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Yum! I love meals like this, looks so pretty!
Hi Natalia, we do like colorful food. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I always seek out the thickest asparagus spears. I think they taste the sweetest. And this dish is ideal for them.
Hi Carolyn, really agree that thicker is better in this dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love this! Kind of like a BLT with asparagus instead of lettuce and no bread!
Hi Inger, yup, that was the inspiration behind this. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Nicer and simple, lovin this dish
Hi Raymund, this is really, really worth making. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Beautifully simple, and a great combination of flavors. Honestly, I can’t think of the last time I had bacon in the house, but I always have pancetta or prosciutto. Heading to the farmers market in a few minutes… The local asparagus has been unbelievable this year!
Hi Cocoa, pancetta or prosciutto would both be wonderful in this! Thanks for the comment.
John, I'm not sure I would have ever put these ingredients together to make a stir fry, but now I can't wait to make this. What a flavorful and light meal, totally doing the splash of fresh lemon juice right before serving as per your suggestion!
Hi Marcelle that lemon juice really adds a lot. :-) Thanks for the comment.
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