Next time, you need a simple appetizer for a party try my sweet and spicy bacon wrapped broccolini, everyone I have given it to has wept at the yummy pairing. Ok, they may not have actually cried but they did eat them all in about five minutes. The mix of sweet with heat is a winner, and the char on the tips of the broccolini is divine. I like to put these out with some fresh veggies, cheese, and nuts for evening red wine by the pool.
I made this appetizer for the first time when we were on COVID-19 quarantine/staycation, and we ran out of water chestnuts to wrap in bacon. I looked in the fridge and saw the broccolini, why not I thought. I like to put some red pepper flake on my Broccolini when I saute it, so why wouldn’t I put it on the bacon-wrapped version. When it came out of the oven with the crispy bacon, charred broccolini tops, and spicy pepper flake, I just knew it need some sweetness, so I grabbed the balsamic glaze and gave it a drizzle. Sweet and spicy bacon-wrapped broccolini is one of those tasty treats that hits many the flavor triggers: spicy, sweet, salty, and umami. Pour a spicy red wine, like a Roja, with this dish, and it will make quarantine delicious.
Bacon Wrapped Makes it Better
What isn’t better wrapped in bacon? Stumped you didn’t I. Answer, there is nothing in the world that isn’t better with bacon. I have made dates, water chestnuts, chicken thighs, and even asparagus wrapped in bacon, but once I tried this, the others pale in comparison. The addition of the red pepper and sweetness of the store-bought balsamic glaze take a simple dish and make it epic.
What is Broccolini?
According to a quick google search, broccolini is not baby broccoli. It was created in 1993 by crossing broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It is mild and tender with lanky stalks that work great in this dish. I think you could sweet and spicy bacon wrap broccoli rabe or even Chinese broccoli (if split into thin stems) and get a good result. If anyone tries it, let me know.
Store-Bought Balsamic Glaze
Yes, I have admitted that making balsamic glaze is a pain, especially since I like it as a simple way to jazz up a dish that may otherwise be a little flat. Good news, Costco will sell you a vat of the pre-made stuff for a reasonable price, and it will keep it in the fridge forever. I like it as a quick way to glaze pan-cooked pork or chicken as well as a nice flourish on a basic salad. I know in the 1990s restaurants got a little carried away and seemed to put on everything, but if a home cook uses it judiciously, it’s an excellent flavor weapon to have in the pantry. If you just are too cool to buy the balsamic glaze from the store, you can make it by boiling down good balsamic to a syrup. Or try drizzling a bit of honey on the finished bacon wrapped broccolini.
Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Broccolini
Sweet and spicy bacon-wrapped broccolini is one of those tasty treats that hits many the flavor triggers: spicy, sweet, salty, and umami. Pour a spicy red wine, like a Roja, with this dish, and will make a great happy hour.
- 1 bunch of Broccolini
- 1 lbs bacon sliced in half
- 1-2 tbs of red pepper flake
- Balsamic glaze store-bought is fine
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and dry the broccolini, if desired, split the individual spears to make them easy to eat. Toss the broccolini in a large bowl with olive oil, red pepper flake, salt, and pepper. Be generous with the spices; make sure the red pepper sticks to the broccolini.
Wrap each spear with half a strip of bacon. Then place on a baking rack or sheet. Put in the oven, cook for 15-20 minutes, flip. Cook for 5-15 more minutes, time will depend on the thickness of the bacon.
Remove from the oven when the bacon is crispy, and the top of the broccolini is starting to char.
Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the hot broccolini. Serve immediately.
Honey can be used as a substitute for the balsamic glaze.
In Praise of the Hand Model
I have to give my husband a big hug and kiss for his hard work as a hand model. The smell of the sweet and spicy bacon was causing him to drool, and like a true professional, he managed to finish the photoshoot without incident. His reward was an abbreviated photoshoot (it was happy hour), a big glass of wine, and all the bacon wrapped broccolini he wanted. I promise next time I will give him a pre-shoot wine and cheese tray to keep his spirits up, LOL.
If you are a fan of Scott’s hard work or just looking for another appetizer recipe please check this recipe out.