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Author Notes: Lemony and fresh, this light salad is sure to wow at your next picnic or dinner party. Easy to convert to vegetarian, simply leave out the bacon and use a bit of butter to cook the mushrooms. This is easily doubled, and you can add and remove ingredients to suit your tastes. Enjoy! —CuppaTea
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinches sea salt
- pinches fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus, woody ends trimmed
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 1/2 cups orzo pasta
- 6 pieces bacon
- 1 pint button mushrooms, quartered
- 1 bunch green onions
- 1 lemon cut into wedges as garnish
- For the dressing, simply combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the tablespoon of sea salt, and the spears of asparagus. Blanch 1 minute 45 seconds. Do not drain the water, simply remove the spears with tongs to a bowl of ice-water. Drain and set aside.
- Add the orzo pasta to the same pot of boiling water. Cook until slightly under-cooked, about 6 minutes. Drain into a colander and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- Slice the bacon slices into half inch pieces. Cook and stir in a medium pan over medium heat until crisp. Remove to a paper towel. Drain most but not all of the fat, and add the quartered mushrooms. Brown them nicely, about five minutes, and remove to a paper towel. Allow to cool.
- Slice the asparagus spears into bite-sized pieces, about one inch. Slice the bunch of green onions (white and light green parts).
- Time to assemble in your prettiest bowl! Add the orzo, asparagus, bacon, mushrooms, and green onions, then pour over the dressing (give it a good shake first) and gently stir. Refrigerate at least one hour..
- Gently stir and check seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste. Slice the lemon and place the wedges around the bowl to serve.