While the cast of characters for this salad are similar to our panzanella recipe, this variation is elevated to dinner party status with thinly shaved ribbons of asparagus, peppery radishes, and earthy mushrooms. If shaving asparagus is too fiddly for you, you can always thinly slice it into rounds.
- 1 bunch asparagus, thick stalks
- 3 strips thick-cut bacon
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 4 oz cremini mushrooms, (about 5 large ones), sliced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 small bunch radishes, greens removed and thinly sliced
- 1 oz shaved parmesan
- 1/2 loaf slightly stale multigrain bread, cubed
- 2 tbsp minced parsley
- 2 tbsp minced chives
- 1 lemon
- salt and pepper, to taste
- olive oil, if desired
Slice tips off the asparagus stalks and reserve for later.
To shave the asparagus: Holding the tough, woody end, take a sharp vegetable peeler and make long strokes toward the tip, turning the stalk as you work. Slice any remaining pieces into matchsticks and discard woody ends. If you have a mandoline slicer, it would probably work well for this, but be very careful of fingers because asparagus can bend easily.
Transfer asparagus to a large bowl.
Heat a large skillet on medium-high, then fry bacon until completely crispy. Remove from pan and set aside. Chop when cool.
Pour off some fat from the pan and reduce heat to just below medium. Add onions, garlic, and mushrooms to the pan until very fragrant and slightly browned. Stir in the wine and beans and boil, scraping the pan frequently, until the wine has completely evaporated.
Add asparagus tips to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the whole mixture to the bowl with your asparagus. Wipe the skillet clean and return to heat.
Lightly toast bread cubes in the skillet, tossing frequently, for 3-5 minutes or until slightly crispy and browned.
Toss radishes, parmesan, parsley and chives into the asparagus mixture, then add the zest and juice of the lemon.
Finally, add the toasted bread and chopped bacon, then gently toss to combine. If desired, drizzle with olive oil before serving.