Asparagus and bacon salad

Serves 4

It's a good idea to make the most of our short asparagus season and a salad like this with chunks of crisp bacon makes a great main course. Try to buy a piece of streaky bacon so that you can cut it down into big crouton-like chunks. If not, use some pancetta from a good Italian deli.

350-400g piece of smoked or unsmoked streaky bacon
1-2tbsp vegetable or corn oil
300-350g asparagus, ends removed
3-4 handfuls of small, tasty salad leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

2tbsp grain mustard
1tbsp clear honey
1tbsp cider vinegar
4tbsp rapeseed oil

Put the bacon in a pan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour; remove from the water and leave to cool.

Once cool, cut into 2cm squares, heat the vegetable oil in a heavy or non-stick frying pan and cook the bacon on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, turning the pieces as they are cooking, until crisp.

Meanwhile, cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes, then drain. Whisk all of the ingredients together for the dressing; season to taste.

To serve, cut the asparagus in half on the angle and arrange on serving plates with the leaves and bacon and spoon over the dressing.

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