Balsamic Grilled Asparagusfeatured

As featured in Bay Area Bites, April 15, 2009.

The markets have been flooded with bundles of bright green, fresh and crisp asparagus for weeks now. Jumbo, pencil-thin, white…I’ve seen every iteration of these luscious spears overflowing from stands across the city.

If you haven’t been tempted yet to pick up a bunch of these springtime beauties, maybe this recipe will push you over the edge.

Balsamic Grilled Asparagus

Balsamic Grilled Asparagus

Grilled asparagus kissed with balsamic vinegar, served with a fried egg, crumbled bacon, and lemon aioli. A kind of deconstructed modern carbonara if you will.

It takes a bit of work with the different components, but it’s worth it! Perfect for a fancy brunch or served as a starter, this dish is full of smooth richness, mellow sweetness, a little tang, and crunch.

Balsamic Grilled Asparagus

Yield: Serves 3-4


  • 1 pound asparagus, washed with ends of the stems trimmed
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bowl ice water
  • ½ pound bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Aïoli:
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Lemon Aïoli: Place the garlic, egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, orange juice, salt, and grated cheese into a food processor and blend until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil while the processor is running. Prepare a double boiler, making sure the bowl on top is not touching the simmering water beneath. Place the sauce in the bowl and whisk until the sauce becomes a thick, smooth consistency (about 5 minutes).
  2. Asparagus: Bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the asparagus to the boiling stock, uncovered, for approximately 2 minutes. Drain and immediately place the spears into ice water to stop cooking. Drain again and pat dry.
  3. Bacon: In a large skillet cook the bacon over high heat until crispy and brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon pieces to a plate lined with paper towels. Pour off most of the bacon grease, leaving just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, place the asparagus in the pan, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add balsamic vinegar and stir to coat the asparagus. Sear on each side for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Fried Egg: In a separate pan fry an egg sunny side up. When the white is mostly cooked, add a few tablespoons of water into the pan and cover for a minute or two. The result will be a yolk that is soft but not too raw. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Plate the asparagus with the egg, crumbled bacon, and garnish with sauce.


Tip: You will have a lot of aioli leftover. Save it in an airtight container – it makes a wonderful sandwich spread or chip/veggie dip.

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