Parmesan Crusted AsparagusCourse: SidesDifficulty: Medium
What’s better than oven roasted asparagus? How about crunchy, cheesy oven roasted asparagus with just a hint of heat? This recipe is adapted from the award-winning “Vegetables Illustrated: An Inspiring Guide with 700+ Kitchen Tested Recipes by the Editors at America’s Test Kitchen” and uses several clever techniques that set it about from similar recipes.
1 pound asparagus, ½-inch or thicker
½ tsp fine sea salt, divided
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated, divided
½ cup panko bread crumbs
1½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 large egg whites
½ tsp honey
- Lay asparagus stalks flat on a cutting board, align the bottoms, and cut about an inch off the ends. Remove any white, tough ends remaining. Keeping the asparagus flat on the board, remove the skin from the bottom half of each stalk using a vegetable peeler. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut several slits into the unpeeled upper half of each stalk. Place asparagus on a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt, and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and pre heat oven to 450ºF. Combine ¾ cup Parmesan, panko, remaining salt, and cayenne in bowl and mix well. Add olive oil and mix together by hand until well distributed and set aside.
- By hand, whip the egg whites and honey in a large bowl with a wire whisk until soft peaks form. (Alternatively, you can use a hand or stank mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.) Scrape the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Toss the asparagus in egg mixture and coat evenly.
- Remove the paper towels from the now empty rimmed baking sheet, line with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Transfer half of the panko mixture to a shallow dish. One by one, dredge half of the asparagus stalks in the panko mixture until lightly coated and transfer to prepared sheet pan. Refill shallow dish with the remaining panko mixture and dredge the second half of asparagus.
- Bake asparagus until breading begins to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan and continue baking until golden brown and the thickest stalk yields easily to the tip of paring knife, another 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to platter and serve.