ASPARAGUS AND SPRING ONIONS WITH BACON
From Soogil Lim, the chef and owner of Soogil in New York City
START TO FINISH: 1 hour, 15 minutes
1⁄2 cup rice vinegar 1⁄2 cup water 2 tablespoons sugar
11⁄2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
6 spring onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
4 to 6 slices bacon, cut into 1⁄4-inch batons
2 garlic cloves, smashed
24 stalks jumbo or extra-large asparagus, trimmed, and sliced on the bias
Black pepper 12 mint leaves, thinly sliced 1⁄4 cup crushed salted peanuts
1. In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil. Place 1⁄3 of the white parts of the onions in a jar or a small bowl, pour pickling liquid over them, and set aside for at least 1 hour.
2. Place a pan over medium heat; when warm, add the bacon. Once the fat starts to render, add the garlic. Remove cloves when garlic starts to turn golden brown. Stir the bacon to brown evenly, then remove from pan and reserve.
3. Drain any excess fat from the pan, leaving enough to cook the vegetables. Return to heat and add the remaining white onion parts. Cook until tender, then add the asparagus and sauté until crunchy but cooked, about 2 minutes, drizzling in water as needed to keep vegetables from sticking. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Remove pan from the heat and add cooked bacon, along with mint and peanuts. Toss gently. Before serving, top asparagus with pickled spring onion and thinly sliced fresh green onion parts.
flavour booster: bacon