Super fresh Asparagus Salad is bright, balanced, and beautiful. Perfectly ripe asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and peppery basil are tossed with toasted almonds, crispy pancetta and parmesan, then finished with a punchy lemon dressing.
Place the pancetta into a 10” skillet. Heat over a medium flame. Saute the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until the fat renders and the pancetta is crisp, 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Meanwhile, toast the almonds. Heat the oven to 350°F. Spread the almonds into an even layer on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and toast, stirring once halfway through, until very fragrant and lightly golden brown, 8-9 minutes.
Trim the asparagus spears, then slice into thirds. Slice each third on the bias (make angled cuts into each piece, slicing from top to bottom on the diagonal).
Make the vinaigrette. Whisk the lemon juice, lemon zest, dijon mustard, honey, garlic, shallot, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking constantly. Continue whisking until the dressing is emulsified. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper, or sweetener until the flavor is to your liking.
In a large bowl, combine the asparagus, pancetta, almonds, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil. Pour half the vinaigrette over the salad. Toss until well combined. Serve immediately, drizzling with more dressing to taste.