Asparagus is one of the those vegetables that isn’t forgiving at all. One of the first times I ever made asparagus was for company and I tried steaming it. It was literally a hot mess. It was flavorless and soggy. Completely embarrassing.
The asparagus is salted first to bring out some of that extra moisture that would usually cause any topping or crust to fall off. Then the asparagus is coated in egg whites that have a tiny bit of honey in them for just enough stickiness to hold our coating. Finally the asparagus is rolled in a panko and Parmesan crust mixture. I’m telling you…it may be a little more work for your usual asparagus, but it is worth it.
Let the salted asparagus sit for a while to bring out the excess moisture. Toss your asparagus with some honey touched egg whites so that your coating sticks. Then roll is in a Parmesan and Panko mixture.
|Parmesan-Crusted Asparagus|| |
- 2 pounds (1/2-inch-thick) asparagus, trimmed
- Salt and pepper
- 1½ cups Parmesan cheese, grated
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- pinch cayenne
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Using fork, poke holes up and down stalks of asparagus. Toss asparagus with ½ teaspoon salt and let stand for 30 minutes on a paper towel–lined baking sheet.
- Meanwhile, combine 1 cup Parmesan, bread crumbs, butter, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon pepper, and cayenne in bowl. Transfer half of bread-crumb mixture to shallow dish and reserve remaining mixture. Dividing the crumbs for two phases of dipping eliminates the problem of a soggy coating.
- Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites and honey on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Scrape into 13 by 9-inch baking dish and toss asparagus in mixture.
- Working 1 spear at a time, dredge half of asparagus in bread crumbs and transfer to baking sheet. Refill shallow dish with reserved bread-crumb mixture and repeat with remaining half of asparagus.
- Bake asparagus until just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup Parmesan and continue to bake until cheese is melted and bread crumbs are golden brown, 4 to 8 minutes. Transfer to platter. Serve.
Source: Cooks Country