1. Chicken Bacon Avocado Spinach Salad
8 slices thick bacon
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped asparagus
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning (more to taste)
4 cups spinach, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
8 ounces cooked chicken breast slices
1 large ripe avocado
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
fresh basil for topping
Fry the bacon according to package directions (I go for crispy on this one). Drain on a paper towel lined plate and crumble or chop into bite-sized pieces.
Melt the butter in a small skillet over high heat. Add the asparagus, sprinkle with lemon pepper, and saute until golden brown and roasty-looking. I like the little charred pieces so I cooked it a little longer - you can cook for as long as you like depending on how you like your asparagus.
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Layer the spinach, chicken, asparagus, and bacon. Cut the avocado into slices and scoop out with a spoon; arrange over the top of the salad. Drizzle or toss with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with fresh basil, salt and pepper.
2. SALMON AND ASPARAGUS IN FOIL
4 (6 oz) skinless salmon fillets
1 lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon thinly sliced
Fresh dill sprigs, or chopped fresh thyme, rosemary or parsley
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut four sheets of aluminum foil about 14-inch long. Divide asparagus into 4 equal portions (about 8 spears per foil packet) and layer in center of each length of foil.
In a small bowl stir together oil with garlic. Drizzle 1 tsp of the oil over portion of asparagus then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rinse salmon and allow excess water to run off, then season bottom of each fillet with salt and pepper. Layer fillets over asparagus.
Drizzle top of each salmon fillet with 1 tsp of the olive oil mixture and season top with salt and pepper to taste. Top each with about 2 sprigs dill and 2 lemon slices (if using fresh thyme or rosemary use about 3/4 tsp per each if using parsley use 1 1/2 tsp). Wrap sides of foil inward over salmon then fold in top and bottom of foil to enclose.
Place foil pouches in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until salmon is cooked through, about 20 minutes (thicker fillets will take longer). Unwrap and serve warm.
3. SHRIMP AND ASPARAGUS IN LEMON SAUCE
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound cooked shrimp
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed and each stalk cut into 2-3" pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2/3 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1.In a small bowl, whisk together all of the lemon sauce ingredients and set aside.
2.In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat, and shrimp and cook til warm. Season shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Remove from frying pan and place shrimp on a plate.
3.In same frying pan, heat another 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and cook until asparagus is tender-crisp, bright green, and just barely beginning to brown. Season asparagus with 1/4 teaspoon salt (or more if needed). Add ginger and garlic and stir to combine with asparagus. Cook for another 30-45 seconds or so.
4.Pour in lemon sauce mixture into frying pan with asparagus. Add shrimp back into pan and combine sauce with asparagus and shrimp. Simmer for about a minute or until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and serve.
4. PARMESAN-COATED ASPARAGUS WRAPPED PROSCUITTO
One large bunch of thick asparagus (try to avoid bunches with very slender stalks)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Zest of one lemon
3 large garlic cloves
¼ cup fresh oregano
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
24 slices good quality prosciutto, sliced thin but not see-through thin
Snap off a few inches of the bottom, woody ends of the stalks and place the asparagus in a gallon zipper seal bag.
In a small food processor, blend oil, lemon zest, garlic and oregano until an oily paste forms. Pour this mixture in the bag with the asparagus and seal. Marinate for one to six hours at room temperature. Turn bag a few times so all of the asparagus get coated.
Heat grill to medium
In a pie plate or dinner plate, pour out Parmesan cheese. Pick one asparagus at a time out of the marinade and roll in the cheese, pressing the cheese to stick. Then roll in a slice of prosciutto. Roll on a slight angle so the single slice wraps from one end to the other with the end and tip poking out. Repeat for all of the asparagus.
Place on grill seam side down and grill 5-10 minutes turning slightly every few minutes until golden brown and cooked (but still a bit crisp so try not to overcook).