Parmesan-Crusted Asparagus √
Note: This offers rich, roasted flavor with an ultracrispy, cheesy coating. By poking holes in the asparagus and salting it, the extra moisture in the vegetable is taken out. Avoid pencil-thin asparagus for this recipe. Panko bread crumbs are larger and lighter than traditional dried bread crumbs, which could be substituted. From “Cooking for Two,” by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen.
• 1 lb. (1/2-in. thick) asparagus, trimmed (see Note)
• Salt and pepper
• 1 1/2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (3/4 c.), divided
• 1/3 c. panko bread crumbs (see Note)
• 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
• Pinch cayenne
• 1 egg white
• 1/2 tsp. 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 a fork, poke holes up and down asparagus stalks. Toss asparagus with 1/4 teaspoon salt and let stand for 30 minutes in single layer on large paper towel-lined platter.
Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup Parmesan, panko, butter, 1/8 teaspoon salt, pinch of pepper and cayenne in bowl. Transfer half of panko mixture to shallow dish and reserve remaining mixture.
Using a handheld electric mixer, whip egg white and honey together 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 egg white mixture into medium baking dish, then gently toss asparagus in mixture, working quickly (or salt will deflate the egg white).
Working with 1 spear at a time, dredge half of asparagus spears in panko and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Refill shallow dish with reserved panko mixture and repeat with remaining asparagus.
Bake asparagus until just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and continue to bake until cheese is melted and bread crumbs are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes longer. Serve.
Nutrition information per serving: