Fine Student Cuisine #1 – Meat your vegetables

I’m going to try something a little different in the next couple weeks. I’ll be posting some of my favorite recipes and cooking techniques for you to try at home. I find I often don’t have all the ingredients to make meals out of a cookbook but desire something more than KD or frozen perogies. This is my attempt then to make cooking simple and to share how you can make quality meals from the odds and ends that accumulate in your fridge.

First up: Falling In Love With Asparagus.

On The Grill

My mom loves asparagus and as a child growing up in Calgary we would have it several times a week. As a result, I’m very picky about the long green shoots and only really enjoy them when prepared properly. As a student I have also been terrible about eating vegetables and once was told by a doctor on campus to take Vitamin C tablets to ward off the scurvy that I was diagnosed with. This recipe solves both of those problems. You can’t make a whole meal out of this, its intended to be a side dish, appetizer, or snack.


  • Several shoots of asparagus
  • A sauce of your preference, in this case Dijon mustard. You could substitute to fit your tastes with BBQ sauce, soy sauce, or get creative with something of your own.
  • Bacon (or prosciutto if your really classy)
  • A BBQ
  • Toothpicks (not necessary, but can certainly help).

Prep work

  1. Take as many shoots as you want and wash them. If you see purple near the bottom of the shoot cut it off. This part isn’t as good to eat and will cook unevenly.
  2. Spread your desired sauce onto a chose shoot. Don’t get too crazy with it, just a nice even spread.
  3. If your bacon comes in long strips, then you probably want to cut it in half. A good estimate is having a strip of bacon that is a little shorter than the shoot.
  4. Wrap the seasoned asparagus in a bacon like a little delicious present. That’s what it is! Start at the top of the shoot and put a toothpick through the bacon to hold it in place.
  5. Now roll the shoot up in the bacon. When you get to the bottom of the shoot add use another toothpick to hold it there.
  6. Repeat with all the asparagus.
  7. Fire up the BBQ!
  8. I’m still trying to figure out how best to cook the finished product. If you put the wrapped shoots directly onto the BBQ surface, be sure to add a bit of olive oil to them to stop them from sticking. Another way to reduce sticking is to cook them on a sheet of aluminium foil. If you do it this way then be sure to poke small holes in the foil for the fat and drippings to drain out.
  9. Once you’ve decided on your preferred cooking method then be sure to check on the wraps frequently. Bacon can go from uncooked to super crispy in an instant.

Doing the Prep

If things go well, the bacon will shrink around the asparagus shoot giving it a crispy coating. Prosciutto works much than bacon in this regard. In my opinion there is no better way to eat asparagus.

The lesson here: if you find a vegetable that you don’t like, wrap it in meat and it is sure to be a hit. Try it this weekend!

Comments, questions, suggestions?

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Geoff is a 5th year student who studying a double major in Integrated Science (Evolutionary ecology, virology) and Political Science. He was the 'Wish' speaker at the 2008 Terry Talks and is passionate about university education, especially when it comes to interdisciplinary experiences. After graduation Geoff wants to find a job that allows him to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds and share stories. If your savvy enough you can follow Geoff on Twitter - user: gcosteloe.